After releasing the cracking LP You Know What It’s Like last year, Carla dal Forno is back with an EP, The Garden. At first listen it’s very much a follow on from 2016’s release; full of sombre, cloistered, synthesized soundscapes and quietly suggestive (non)love songs, ones that suddenly disappear at a moment’s notice, like morning dew. For all that it conjures up images of nuns gliding silently through to vespers dal Forno’s work also reveals a very suggestive hinterland. The opener We Shouldn’t Have To Wait, and Clusters, are classic examples. Two poppy laments, chained to a steady beat and wrapped in suitably Gothic cloaks. They scream out their secrets to no-one in particular. The bass roll on the title track is also that teensy bit saucy. Am I hearing things I wonder.
Actually, I don’t think it’s a bad question to ask as dal Forno has a thing with sound. It’s just not presented as an overt strategy. There is something in the overall makeup of her records that suggests secrecy, leaving a tape on in an empty room for example, to catalogue its presence. The (exaggerated?) tape hiss, and click, coupled with a patience in delivery is what makes this and her previous work so moreish. Sound as sound is the driving force.
As usual with dal Forno’s work everything is all far too short, over before you know it. I do think that she could make a double LP, in fact she should, it would be wonderful. Tracks like Clusters could be gargantuan exercises in mood and sound But the, maybe they are perfect as they are. As it is we have this EP, for now. The title track, which you can watch here, has something of Associates’ Q Quarters in it as well as a hint of those weird melancholic synth pops songs Robyn Hitchcock used to knock out in the mid 1980s.