Review: Bosaina – New York April – July 2013 / Two Names Upon The Shore

Fiction makes it all seem so simple. In novels and cinema, coherent narratives are intrinsically woven into the fabric of life; profound symbolism rises to the surface of its own accord, prosaic rhythms temper the transitions between jubilant highs and counterbalancing contemplative lows, and endings always arrive at moments that feel apt, drawing together everything into a symphony of realisation and completion, twisting all of the loose ends into a single point. On these two EPs, I hear an attempt to map the same narrative framework upon the mess of the real world. Of course, life doesn’t mirror the graceful unravelling of causality that we find in fiction, where each event spills inevitably out of the one prior. It’s rife with accident and absent meaning, with straight lines knocked sideways, with jarring overturns in fortune or momentum. By crushing field recordings through FX and looping, and perching pianos awkwardly upon life’s emotive ledges, Bosaina generates a story that lurches forward and spills out of the lines, pressed into shape against its will, forever threatening to burst outward into its natural state of muddle and ambiguity.

The first EP is New York April – July 2013: a jagged mix of rainfall on concrete, heavy footsteps and idle conversation, all sloshing beneath an electric piano that stumbles through a melody of distracted and discontented love. There’s so much happening at once. Sometimes the piano seems to lose track of itself, loitering over a single chord until it remembers the next, unable to concentrate amidst the background noise that tumbles from left to right, then back, then cuts out, then bursts back in. When Bosaina repeats a single moment over and over – say, the clattering underground train on the EP’s third track – I hear an attempt to bend time into obedience. She sings over the loop through telephone distortion, building a collage that speaks to the sentiments of distance and travel and homesickness. Piano keys curl back into reverse. Voices slide into the corners. Beats begin to punch points of emphasis into the train track clatter. Through persistence and forceful reshaping and chronological tampering, Bosaina makes everything fit.

On the second of these two EPs – titled Two Names Upon The Shore ­­– we escape the bustle of the city for the churn of the seaside. Birdsong interjects quietly and occasionally. The hiss of the ocean sits at the edges like a tattered border. Piano trickles down the centre, and the clarity of single emotions come and go – again, the melody loses and regains itself, wandering into passages of keys hit sporadically with index fingers, then gradually retrieving its thread, mimicking the cycle of the tide as lucidity emerges and recedes. The turbulence here is now an internal one. Even when liberated from the noise of urban living, Bosaina’s quest for narrative must still negotiate the haze of thought and feeling. And while this isn’t as overtly chaotic as the howl of those New York underground trains, the staggering lullaby of the final track – dripped like intermittent rainfall upon a lake – still bristles with an uncertainty that lends itself not to the resolute cadence of cinema, but to the eternally open end of life itself.