Oceans flow through the centre of Cinder Well’s music. With her new album, Cadence, Amelia Baker’s experimental folk project drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where she grew up, and the wind-torn swells of Western Ireland that she’s come to love.
Due out April 21, 2023 on Free Dirt Records, the album’s name refers to the cycles of our turbulent lives, to the uncertain tides that push us forward and back. Recorded at Hen House Studios, just blocks from the famed Venice Beach Boardwalk in Los Angeles, the songs of Cadence search for a sense of grounding and a feeling of home. Though California’s beaches are the backdrop of this album, Irish influences emerge as well. The folklore of the old ways still looms in her mind, now tinged with the kind of growth that comes from returning to your roots.
Listen to the first single, “Two Heads, Grey Mare”, inspired by folklore stories of the Irish selkie and filmed in England’s Peak District. Cormac MacDiarmada of Lankum put the eerie string arrangement together:
With Cadence, Baker expands Cinder Well’s sound to include percussion as well as trance electric guitar and expansive string parts courtesy of Cormac MacDiarmada of Lankum. While there are still hints of the doom folk that Cinder Well is known for, Cadence balances heavy lyrics with a more expansive sound that nods to LA’s mythical Laurel Canyon years. “So much of my music has been made far from home,” Baker says. “There was something about recording in California that felt cathartic.” Caught between two worlds, Cadence is about recapturing the rhythms of life after a time of deep isolation, about finding balance amongst uncertainty.
The feeling of being suspended between two worlds is subtly, yet profoundly, woven throughout Cadence. “I was continuously trying to reconcile having homes in two places,” Baker says. “I was trying to hold both of those parts of me.” Cadence is an album torn between home and a new land you’ve come to love. It’s about finding acceptance in the ever-changing tides, and reclaiming your creativity during a time of great personal strife. Splitting her time now between two West Coasts (Ireland and California), she reflects that “the ocean is my homebase no matter where I am.” Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that she opens Cadence with a song about selkies—seals that turn human on land. More than simply a folk legend, the shapeshifting selkies are a befitting metaphor for Cinder Well herself: a songwriter tied to the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides, whether they be half a world apart or a few steps from her home.
‘Cadence’ by Cinder Well is out April 21st on Free Dirt Records.
You can stream Two Heads, Grey Mare below: