SHANNON COSGROVE (Publicist)
‘Instar’ means ‘a phase between two periods of moulting’ - the shedding of feathers or skin to allow for something new, changing and morphing to welcome the next phase. That’s what what the debut solo record from Vesper Wood represents. “I recognise that this is a growing album,” she says. “It’s about learning.”
As one half of electro-pop duo Kaleida, her elegiac voice was heard by millions the world over as their devastating and sublime song ‘Think’ was the highlight of the soundtrack to ‘John Wick’ – with its emotional starkness and simplicity at odds with the violence of the film itself. Other tracks found similar fame on ‘Atomic Blonde’ and ‘CSI’ before their breathtaking album ‘Tear The Roots’ was released to critical acclaim in 2017. Now, Wood is here with ‘Instar – her most revealing, raw and real work yet.
Recorded through Spring and Summer 2018 in Bristol with producer Ali Chant [whose credits include PJ Harvey, John Parish, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding, Soccer Mommy and Jenny Hval], ‘Instar’ was fuelled and inspired by Wood’s own profound experiences.
“Maybe there’s a healing presence to the album,” she says of the record’s character. “A protective spirit. Over the past year I was working through a lot of personal things - fertility problems and issues with my reproductive system - and making this really helped me to process it all. There’s a lot in here about being a woman and women’s health. It’s important to me that we have the ability to talk about it. And maybe there’s a healing feminine spirit to it.”
A gossamer touch makes Vesper Wood’s organic and atmospheric sound all the more arresting. With just keys, strings and her voice at the forefront, there’s a vulnerability and fragility that echoes through these recordings with such conviction that they could never be considered a weakness. The simplicity of her approach blossoms with the opulence of feeling that you travel throughout the album. It’s a wrought journey, but while there’s a longing and a sadness, ‘Instar’ is Wood finding a sense of place: a better place and one of strength.