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23 September 2016 (released)
03 February 2017
Cascadia for the uninitiated is the informal region comprising the states of Washington and Oregon as well as the province of British Columbia. The three territories have always shared a kinship despite their political divides. The biggest commonality being geography and climate. They all share a rugged beauty with towering mountains, dense forests, and the powerful ocean all meeting in one place. This natural wonder breeds a humbled people. Fuelling the region’s lush beauty is an exorbitant amount of rain. While it may not be as intense as monsoon seasons elsewhere, the neighbouring Pacific brings countless months of damp clothes and grey skies. All these things together: the humble demeanour, the respect for natural beauty, the soggy weather, these elements all breed a distinct feeling from singer-songwriter types. As if every song was written forlornly looking out a dripping window pane.
Gert Taberner may have German roots and a New York address but the music on his debut EP screams Cascadia. The three track teaser centres on his delicate but steady guitar work and reverb-soaked genuine vocals.
Lead single and album opener ‘Fallen’ swirls around a simple, softly strummed chord progression. A wistful vocal refrain echoes the six-string’s sentiment. Each word is enunciated with a characteristic exaggeration, much like Amy Winehouse would. His backing band’s entrance is subtle but builds to an emotional climax. The accompanying music video prominently features Vancouver’s grey skies and driftwood-covered beaches. A couple with the best of intentions attempts to reconcile the differences between them. This song is the stuff of the last fifteen minutes of a rom-com where the girl realizes the one she was looking for was there all along. Slow motion run, possibly at an airport or in the middle of the street on a rainy night. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this song on a few of those soundtracks.
‘In Need’ is a similarly structured tune, Taberner swapping out the electric for an acoustic guitar. Somehow downtrodden and hopeful at the same time. ‘Places’ picks up the tempo a bit with a little light funk beat. Taberner shows that his falsetto is as strong as his regular delivery. A lifted Dr. Seuss line is re-appropriated for the chorus. A warm jazzy guitar line plays the tune out.
Gert Taberner’s Fallen EP continues on in the tradition of the Pacific Northwest songwriters. Plain-spoken yet pensive. Calmed and humbled by the elements. A particular kind of soulful. Just the kind of thing you’d find stumbling into a tightly-packed, hip establishment on a wet winter night in Cascadia.