Album of the Week – ‘Raven’ by Domini Forster
‘Raven‘ by Domini Forster is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week.
Domini Forster is fast-establishing herself as one of Melbourne’s brightest new voices in modern folk.
The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is currently preparing to release her debut album. Hovering deftly in the breathless spaces between light and dark, Raven is an unfeigned paean to the Shadow. “It’s about the darker, more destructive elements of the psyche”, she explains. “The Raven became a symbol of the imperfect parts of myself that I’m trying to understand… My dark bird.”
Steeped in melody and awash with ornate chamber arrangements, the album was produced by indie “it kid” Nick Huggins (Kid Sam; Hello Satellites; Oscar + Martin), and recorded in the fading light of late Summer at the sleepy coastal village of Point Lonsdale. The album’s first single ‘Then You Stop’ is surprisingly sanguine despite broaching darker themes. Angelic coos of backing vocals dip and sway above an acoustic guitar. Clear and fragile chimes of upright piano form, like drops of condensation on a window-pane. Strings swell with orchestral drum rolls, driving the track as it opens into a joyful indie-pop outro, with Forster declaring, arms outstretched, “I wish you were here so I could hold you / and tell you the things your mother told you…”
Opening with a ghostly wash of violin harmonics, ‘Under Water’ bubbles and swells with a delicate menace. While ornate chamber strings and electric guitar set the stage in ‘Turn The Light On’, with Forster’s meandering vocal effortlessly harmonized by longtime collaborator Phoebe Sanger. Further down the track list, ‘Hold Up’ is a strikingly simple, barely-dressed ode to vulnerability in love. Throughout it all, Forster’s distinctive vocal shifts effortlessly from a commanding, reverb-laden call to a lilting, whisper-close falsetto. It’s no wonder the elfin songwriter is earning comparisons to the likes of Laura Marling, Sufjan Stevens and Joni Mitchell.
Forster grew up in the rolling hills of Byron Bay, born into an unusually artistic family. Her mother is a filmmaker and fine artist, while her father has a background in theatre, the performing arts and clowning. At age 8 she took up the violin, with piano, guitar, and various other string instruments following in time. Teenage-hood opened her eyes to a new realm of eclectic musical worlds – from 60s and 70s folk balladeers, to Led Zeppelin, Queen, Polyphonic Spree, The Mountain Goats, pop phenomenon Destiny’s Child and the poetic flow of rap music.
“I’ve always loved language and storytelling”, she explains. “And I’ve always been a bit introspective and philosophical too; prone to analysing my experience of being human and thinking about big questions. For me, songwriting provided an avenue to explore these ideas – happiness, purpose and connection – while playing with language and sound.”
In 2012, Forster graduated from Melbourne Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Music, having won their Songwriter of the Year award. She wasted no time in making a strong impression on the local music scene with her debut EP Little Dreamer, produced by Tony Buchen (Montaigne; Washington). A festival favourite, she has played The Sydney Road Street Party, Mullum Music Festival, and Happy Wanderer, to name just a few.
In 2013, Forster was hand-picked by renowned Australian songwriter Lior to support on his national tour. A strong creative friendship formed over 60+ shows across the country, and Lior eventually invited Forster to sing onstage beside him at the Opera House, accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. When the time came for Lior to tour again in 2015, he not only enlisted Forster as support artist, but invited her to join his band – performing at such iconic venues as The Enmore Theatre in Sydney, and Melbourne’s Athenaeum.
1. Under Water
2. Black Dog
3. In the Dark
4. Hold Up
5. Turn the Light on
6. Then you Stop
10. For Tomorrow
Domini Forster – vocals, guitar, ukulele, violin,
glockenspiel, keys, piano
Phoebe Sanger – backing vocals
Madi Weybury – acoustic bass
George Weis – drums and percussion
Willow Stahlut – violin
Myfanwy Hunter – viola
Anita Quayle – cello
Nick Huggins – slide guitar, track 4
Lachlan Carrick – keys, track 6
You can follow the artist HERE . For an extended listen to the album, tune in on Thursday from 1:30PM – 2PM for ‘Album of the Week’ with Josh Crosbie. Don’t forget to also listen out for your opportunity to win a copy of ‘Eclecticism’ all week. You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up HERE. You can also stream the station HERE.