Local Albums: March 2010 – Olivia Rose Muzzy makes an odd brand of folk music with a double bass, loop pedal, and her wild, expressive vocals. Her debut record, Fisherman’s Dream, presents her live act accurately, rather than tracking all of the many bass parts comprising each piece separately, we’re treated to marked addition as she records each part and then loops it.
The album’s second cut, “Oceans/Field Dance” is a splendid example of her architectural abilities. The song begins with a bass line which sounds like sap dripping from a tree. Rose Muzzy rushes in with a double-tracked 16th-note vamp and makes room for mid-range flutters to play call and response with high coos and squeals before she begins to sing.
Her voice is unassuming at first, gently leading you through garland-laced walkways, but her unpredictable vocals highlight something elemental in her songs. The song reaches a peak when drummer Ed Bornstein joins and Rose Muzzy begins to wail, “Teach me to throw away myself.” No longer sweetly guiding, but blunt and direct, Rose Muzzy’s voice drops from an intense, impassioned howl to low, cavernous noise sitting in the back of her throat. The song closes with Rose Muzzy unleashing a series of tribal chants as the music fades out.
The almost poppy “Waltz for You” follows up the abrasive and jarring close to “Oceans/Field Dance.” “Waltz” begins tightly with a bounding bass line from Rose Muzzy bouncing on Bornstein’s stutter-steps. Rose Muzzy subtly adds elegiac sweeps and swells and Bornstein’s fills get gradually more off-kilter and idiosyncratic as the song progresses. Suddenly there’s a symphony of intermingling bass lines as the drum part moves from tight bass and snare work to splash after splash of cymbal. The result is the most conventionally satisfying moment on the record as Rose Muzzy howls above the fray, “I see you/I wrote this waltz for you,” sounding both ecstatic and pleading.