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Where a City Once Drowned

a new album by Clara Engel

About the project

a wood grows 
where a sea was
where a city once drowned...

My newest collection of songs, "Where A City Once Drowned" is almost finished. 

This album features six new songs, with an instrumentation of voice, electric guitar, cello, guitalele, hammond organ, synthesizer, banjo, electric koto, bass, harmonium, and bowed glockenspiel. It is populated by dogs that race through the night sky, the Russian witch Baba Yaga, a meditation on deep time and climate change, wild goats, and a song that arose from looking at a book of Tarkovsky's polaroids. These songs feel like a product of my time, and also reflect how out-of-step I often feel with my time. 

I recorded the basis for the album in Bethlehem PA, in the final hours of December 4th, 2018, with Taylor Galassi accompanying me on cello. The last time Taylor and I worked together was in 2009, when we recorded The Bethlehem Tapes -- also live-off-the-floor, in one sitting. It felt wonderful and seamless to work together again.


I came back home to Toronto after my tour, and began overdubbing some parts, as well as sending the songs off to a host of other musical friends, hailing all the way from London (Tsinder Ash), Stocklholm (Astor Wolfe), Antwerp (Odile Aurore Strik), New Jersey (Sylvia Haynes), and Toronto (Brad Deschamps).  

I feel that this album deserves a tangible physical release as well as a digital one. My goal is to release the album on pressed cd, with high quality packaging that frames it as an art object. The cover features one of my ink drawings.

What are the funds for?

The funds generated here will cover the costs of manufacturing a limited edition of 300 or 500 cds (the number of cds I will press is dependent on how close I come to my funding goal.) I haven't released an album on pressed cd since Secret Beasts in 2009, though I've released many albums in digital format since then. 
In an era where the norm is to consume music via continuous streaming, to release an album as a whole, in a carefully assembled and high quality package feels like an old-fashioned and romantic gesture... and that is part of the appeal for me. I want to make something that you can hold and keep.
The cost of pressing cds is significantly higher than duplicating cd-rs -- but pressed cds last longer and are less fragile. Similarly, I don't want the covers printed digitally, but rather pressed, so as to do more justice to the cover artwork. I will also be including a full lyric sheet and a download code with each album.
Without this crowdfunding campaign, I would only be able to afford a digital release. I would really love to be able to realize this album as a physical art-object to share with all of you.

About the project owner

I am a Toronto-based independent musician, songwriter, and visual artist. I have collaborated with musicians and artists from the UK, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Turkey, Iran, and the US. My music has been played on Italian National Radio, as well as BBC Radio 2, making it onto Tom Robinson's show "BBC Introducing" on several occasions; it has been described as "folk noir," "minimalist holy blues from another galaxy," and "sung poetry." I have an ambivalent relationship to both gender and genre. Some of my influences are Vasko Popa, Virginia Woolf, Theodore Roethke, Jim Jarmusch, Arvo Part, Meredith Monk, Robert Johnson, Gillian Welch, Anohni, Amalia Rodrigues, and Jacques Brel.

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