Song of the Week: “A Formal Invitation” by Cold Specks

This song is from Cold Specks’s recent album Neuroplasticity. There’s something mystical about it. Partly it’s her vocals, which are borderline monotonous but changing and sweeping up into a vibrato-laden falsetto at the last second. Or how she hits a surprisingly low harmony at the end of a phrase.

Partly the mysticism comes from the music itself. The song starts off shifting between two low, low notes, and for the most part the song stays in this low register. But there’s also an assortment of instruments adding odd accents of sound—in particular, a clarinet solo toward the end that dances under the vocals, undulating and writhing.

Then there’s the pre-chorus where she says, “Smother me with silence. I found myself running away.” There’s something ominous and foreboding about those words, and I like not knowing exactly how she means them. I like the feeling that these words could be interpreted in many different ways. I could listen to this song over and over again and never settle on a meaning.

With an album title like Neuroplasticity, the idea that the mind is malleable, that ideas are flexible, is coupled with the thought that different people will hear the same thing but experience it in different ways.

She’s on tour in the US until the first week in December. See if she’s coming to a city near you!

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