Luca Wilding releases his debut EP ‘To’ this year; a unique and beautiful collection of dream-folk songs, pulled from the myriad transformative experiences that have peppered his life thus far.
Wilding lost his way somewhat, and just about stumbled through the next few years of his life. Somehow, in that muddled aftermath, in the basement he was calling home, he finally picked up a guitar once more. While he still had no idea how to play it, he began to explore how to shape his vocal into strange new shapes, a voyage which led to the uniquely mystifying voice he sings with today. However, worried he didn’t have the life experiences to give him any unique perspective, Wilding began to actively seek wisdom. He read everything he could. He travelled to India, he consumed lectures on theological theories. Then, in the time between, he suffered the great loss of
two close friends – an experience that would distinctly shape all that followed. “It was over this period that I wrote the album,” Wilding says of that time. “The thread that holds it together is this fragility of human life, the way in which something that once seemed so immovable, can be turned
Exquisite and supremely affecting, To is a truly stunning debut work, ten songs that veer between stark moments of darkness and altogether more colourful dream-folk compositions. Recorded with David Granshaw (Fionn Regan) In a 14th century abbey on the south-westerly tip of the Isle of Wight, the record nods to its surroundings, the ancient stone and huge monolithic wooden beams of the converted studio lending the album a gorgeously earthly feel, the songs imbued with a gentle, natural reverb.
Despite the strikingly personal experiences that inspired these songs, To never falls under its own weight, in fact it often feels beautifully weightless, the lyrics only occasionally offering little glimpses of what lies behind them, like refracted light through a stained-glass window. “My songs tend to be more of a collection of images that elicit feelings in me, things heard or seen in dreams, half remembered,” Wilding says of his craft. Much like his favourite poems, Wilding doesn’t see these songs as telling a strict version of his lifestory, but more as snapshots of vulnerability, of things cripplingly real but also imagined. “I’ve been a real student of poetry since I was very young,” he says. “Sometimes it’s only when you learn a poem by heart that you begin to realise what it means and I try to do this as much as I can.” Informed most pertinently by the freak-folk movement, To was shaped by Wilding’s love for the likes of Anohni, Joanna Newsom, Patrick Watson, and Sufjan Stevens, while he also cites Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, and the purity of her expression, as a formative influence on his work.
With the release of To, Luca Wilding takes a tentative first-step towards that same approach to greatness, and while the path can be muddled and muddy, what’s already clear is that this is an album that will mean so much to those lucky enough to find themselves lost within it. “I only hope
that it might help, if only a little, anyone who is dealing with sadness in any form” Wilding says. “I hope that in hearing it they might know that they are not alone.”