For Immediate Release: March 10, 2017
Caitlin Pasko is a weaver of dreamy elegiac music for voice and piano. Musically her songs drift and float like the work of Satie or Debussy; lyrically they're clear, simple meditations on tenderness and heartbreak. Pasko's style is built on this tension: between the looseness of the Impressionists and the simplicity of modern songwriters.
The songs on her new album Glass Period — the first to be released under her own name, and her first full length release since 2010 — came out of a headspace where different kinds of loss are collected and confused together: loss of love and loss of life. The album chronicles Pasko's shifting mental state as she lives through the sudden and unexpected passing of her father as well as a painful break-up, which took place not long after. Pasko, an only child, also writes from the point of view of her mother as she mourns the loss of her best friend of thirty-eight years.
On Glass Period, we find a small chapel to personal grief. There's a chapel’s sense of calm, of refuge from the world, but also its starkness, its lack of cover from fear, its welcoming of the large and the small. There are small terrors that we must occasionally sit with for a while, which can be their own source of strength. There is air and there is time. This feeling, and the open space the album creates, stems partly from the liquid phrasing of Pasko’s voice and piano playing, but it's also largely the result of the elegant production treatments by producer/composer Henry Terepka (Zula, LEPT).
Throughout 2014-2015, Pasko developed these new songs in her bedroom in Brooklyn and through infrequent live performances around NYC. It was at an early 2015 performance that Terepka approached Pasko about collaborating and producing a short album of the songs. Together they dissected each one, and in July 2015, with the help of engineer Josh Hahn, the duo recorded the basic tracks — piano and vocals, simultaneously — at The Relic Room in Chelsea. Terepka and Pasko then spent the fall and winter months in Terepka’s home studio in Brooklyn and his shared studio in Queens, arranging and recording all other sound and instrumentation on the record – what Terepka calls “The physical extensions of the psychological space." Once they were finished, Pasko and Terepka sat down with mix engineer Patrick Dillett (David Byrne, Doveman, Sufjan Stevens) for two straight days of mixing.
Lyrically, Glass Period is an album about small threats that appear and disappear in a moment but are not forgotten afterward. The "you" addressed in these songs could at times be either the lost lover, the lost parent, Pasko herself, her pain in general, or all four at once, yet Glass Period is quite playful inside of its heavy material, both lyrically and musically. It’s not a downer — it’s overall arc is a sense of lift. There’s a sense of emotional openness in the lyrics, which comes from Pasko's attempt to look at loss honestly and directly, and to take in the situation without judging or explaining it. Pasko’s songs move forward and try to pin down the object of her feelings, like someone bereft out walking. There is something of Bjork's Vulnicura here, of Sufjan Stevens' Carrie and Lowell, and of Angel Olsen's intimate minimalism.
Caitlin Pasko will perform the EP in full on March 10 at The OWL Parlor in Brooklyn. Joining her will be Henry Terepka (guitar, synths, additional production), Arnan Raz (saxophone), and Lauren Smith (vocals). Doors 8:00pm. Set time 9:15pm.