Jennifer Castle’s debut under her own name captures a distinctive Canadian artist using a vivid palette of subtle textures and colours. Timeless in tone and dense with mystery and mysticism, Castlemusic constructs a sonic environment that reverberates like a world long lost, steeped in longing and foggy like a half-remembered dream.
A quiet fixture in Canada’s folk underground and prolific collaborator, Castle entered the studio in Toronto with a set of reflective songs inspired by the rhythm of life, birth and death. Accompanied by Dave Clarke and engineer Jeff McMurrich, they set out to use natural room sound and reverb to capture the essence of Castle’s songs, ultimately creating an album of stark honesty and authentic beauty, that breathes with the spirit of the rooms where it was recorded.
Pulling in performances by friends from the tight-knit music community which surrounds the couple, the album’s distinctive sound was built deliberately yet naturally. Castlemusic contains spontaneous first takes, recorded with numerous room microphones. Piano, organ, flute, vibes, pedal steel and Castle’s trademark guitalele are woven together in a wash of hues -- never in competition and always with a sense of spaciousness.
A stunning work of cosmic lyrical content, ‘Powers’ shifts and sways with perilous grace as warm guitar tones invite listeners on an otherworldly trip. ‘Remembering’ is naked and searing in its intensity, and ‘Poor as Him,’ the album’s most percussive song, sews swaths of reverb and tremolo into a fuzz guitar fade-out.
Castlemusic is an honest and remarkably wise album in the traditional sense, and one that refuses to compromise to the attention span of modernity. Instead it calmly reflects the longing, mortality and undeniable beauty of life, lingering on the smells and cadence of the everyday and the fleeting moments of truth. Those with patient ears will mark this recording as a new classic in the tradition of Canadian folk music.
The songs are simple, the performances deeply resonant, and haunted by memory.”
- Robert Everett-Green, Globe and Mail (Polaris Prize picks)
"Castle conjures visions of a countrified Stevie Nicks, with earthy lyrics stretching out over dusty landscapes of sound."
"pure folkie bliss."
- The Grid
“At a brief 31 minutes, Castlemusic is a perfectly contained piece of work, with almost no visible indulgence....One of the year’s most memorable debuts.”
- Toro Magazine
“Timeless and topical, a hauntingly warbled ballad softly condemns predatory lending while paying mind to the dispossessed.”
- The Globe & Mail (on "NeverRide")
"Castle deserves a place alongside Canada’s great, unique singer/songwriters – the Jonis and the Neils."
- Now Magazine, 5/5 Stars
“Jennifer Castle has a voice like cold smoke.”
– VUE (four stars)
Recorded and mixed by Jeff McMurrich at Nassau 6, Toronto.
Castlemusic on CD/LP