I’ll Take My Leave Here
I’ll Take My Leave Here is available via:
Heidelberg, Germany/Adelaide, Australia
22nd January, 2018
The E.P., Echo Chamber, is available from 1st March. Pre-order via:
IT is rather fortunate I am able to review/feature…
more female artists right now – as my inbox was getting full with male artists! I do not mind interviewing and featuring the guys. It is good to include everyone but, when it comes to interviews, the same trend (in 2018) occurs as it did last year: there seems to be very few female coming through. Most of my requests are from labels/P.R. companies where they will have female musicians on their books. I know female artists like a sense of independence but I feel many are being overlooked and ignored – it is assumed they want to do all the work themselves and do not want their name put forward. The inclusion of Kirbanu into my blog is not a way to redress the balance and merely include a female artist. I have featured the Australian-born artists before – and know well enough what she can do! I will take a look at her current single but, before then, it is prudent to look at a few things that stand out; those characteristics that make Kirbanu someone to watch very closely. I will talk about Australia and Germany – artists moving from the former to the latter; the differences between both nations – and songwriting that embraces all emotions and causes shivers; personalities that can add so much to music; why we need to see Kirbanu travel the world and take her music as far as possible – why we need optimism in the present day. I will start by looking at Australia and ask the question: why would anyone want to move away from the nation?! I know every nation has its downsides and lesser areas. We think as Australia as this always-sunny, tropical climate where it is all beaches, care-free people and beauty. That is true in most cases – I know there are more boring areas of Australia. Adelaide, where Kirbanu hails, has produced some fantastic bands through time. From Bad Dreams and I Killed the Prom Queen; The Hot Lies and Funkoars – there are quite a few decent bands worth checking out.
I guess Sydney and Melbourne are the ‘big’ areas everyone looks at. We often forget there are other parts of Australia where fantastic music is being made. Brisbane and Perth are places I love. I can understand why some artists would move from Australia. I love the nation but Germany is luring many in. Kirbanu is finding new lease and fans in the nation; she loves the country and is settled there. I have seen many artists go to Berlin: the capital is productive and broad; it is less stressful than some areas and has a wonderful music scene. Heidelberg is, perhaps, not as rich as Berlin (when it comes to new music) but it has a fantastic landscape and people. The Australian songwriter has relocated and, for many, that might seem daunting and scary. I feel Germany is a nation that deserves more focus and acclaim. Most people gravitate towards the U.S. or U.K. when it comes to settling down. I feel it is somewhere I need to go in order to recharge and find a new musical lease. I have mentioned Berlin and how captivating it is. Kirbanu still visits Australia but she has embarked on a new phase in her life. I am not sure whether relationships and love brought her to Germany – or kept her there – but she is integrated with the people and finding great inspiration. I find Australia has a more notable music scene but it seems to be restricted to a few cities – there are other great areas but few tend to focus on that. Germany has a different way of life and there is fantastic music everyone. The type of sounds you get in Berlin will be different to Heidelberg; that will be different to Frankfurt or Stuttgart. It is hard finding songwriters who stray beyond the conventional and provide the world something new and beautiful.
One of the main attractions of Kirbanu is the way she brings the listener into a very special world. She has a spirituality and passion that nobody else does. Her songs look at love and adventure – like everyone else – but the way she writes about these subjects is amazing. Everything has a sense of calm and beauty to it. There are heartbroken moments and tense thoughts but, rather than project them in a very desolate and wracked manner; Kirbanu ensures the listener is not suffocated and scared. It can be difficult hearing music that has burden and pressure at its heart. I listen to a Kirbanu song and get taken away. It is an immersive and wonderful place to me, that is for sure! I will talk about where that style stems from but, look around music, and do you see any other artists like this?! Maybe there are one or two that have an ethereal and delightful way of working – Hannah Peel among them – but it is pretty rare. The German-based songwriter wants to provide something meaningful and deep and, at the same time, provide substance and meaning. Many might think a particular way of songwriting – impassioned and calming – would fail to resonate and remain in the memory. There is that dependency on urgency and addictiveness. We want our music to be firm, striking and physical. That is all well and good but, now and then; I want to listen to songs that go further and have real emotion behind them – able to entice me in and calm the spirits. When listening to a song like I’ll Take My Leave Here; you can hear emotion working away and something harder working underneath. It is a complex song but one that leaves impressions and does something wonderful to the soul. At times like these – where we are all a little more stressed and scared than we need to be – it can be hard to discover calm and direction.
I will move onto other areas but, right now; why we need to encourage and foster artists like Kirbanu. I have a lot of love for every artist out there and know how hard the music industry is. It is a challenging and difficult industry – creating a sound that sticks in the mind and lasts the test of times is really hard. In a zeal to be noticed; artists are trying everything they can. I feel the levels of innovation and motivation is at their all-time high. We all need the motivation to keep going; to find direction and reasons to keep plugging. That might sound grim but, when listening to an artist like Kirbanu; I have reason to look ahead and find a new perspective. Most of the new artists I see coming through produce emotions and wonderful music – few remain in the brain and offer something genuinely deep and affecting. It is hard to describe Kirbanu’s music and why it does something wonderful. One gets shivers and a sense of sigh when listening to her sounds; you drift off and imagine what the songwriter is singing. That breeze and calm do not come at the expense of physicality and passion. The songwriter has a hugely powerful voice that moves the body and brings every vision to life. She talks about, as I said, love and the pains of life. It is important to hear that from everyone but, when thinking of Kirbanu; you are left with a transcendent and captivating artist who makes the heart skip a beat and remains long in the imagination. I know there is an E.P. coming up (more on that a bit later) and that will give listeners a chance to see where she is now and what she is writing about. I look at how she has developed over the past couple of years and the new aspects coming into the music. Everything has heightened and the confidence in each song (now) is amazing. The songwriting has improved – it was always fantastic – and Kirbanu’s voice has new qualities and nuances. Tie that with the incredible music and stunning lyrics and you have an artist who keeps on getting better. For someone who was always fantastic; this new peak is a benchmark other artists will need to come up to.
I have talked a lot about her sense of entice and beauty. That is one of the first things one notices about Kirbanu. I look at the social media feed of the artist and she motivates her followers and sends out positive vibes. Messages are put online and videos produced. Not only does Kirbanu work in Germany; she travels around the world and will take her listeners with her. There are other artists who produce motivational speeches and posts; those who film videos from other parts of the world – few that have the same effect as Kirbanu. The way she speaks and what she talks about gets into the heart and provides motivation and solace. I message her now and then and, rather than a written message back; she will record something (spoken) to me. It is a lot more human and, in an age where we are disappearing into social media; she brings that sense of connection and realness back to life. That might seem strange but how many of us use social media and actually socialise with anyone?! It sounds like a bit of a misnomer, in many ways. I worry we are all becoming a bit too detached from one another. Kirbanu, in a quest to touch her listeners, will take her camera with her and produce these videos. One will see messages and quotations; there are pictures of the songwriter smiling and radiating – all very positive, encouraging and humbling. I often need the motivation to keep going and find hope. Music is busy and it is difficult discovering artists who produce fantastic music and provide something extra – that personality and sense of motivation that lifts the heart and enriches the body. This year will be busy for the Australian musician. With an E.P. due and touring dates booked; things are going to get busy and bigger. She will be traveling around the world and it will be quite a tiring experience. One knows there’ll be times where she feels down and is not always in that good headspace. It would be nice for her followers to throw back that love and sense of positivity – knowing her; she will keep going and, through it all, see the positive side of things.
There are not many out there who have that same determination and resolve. I feel the world needs to embrace her music and get involved with everything she does. I know Kirbanu will visit new areas and bring her music to fresh faces. I hope she comes to the U.K. and introduces her new music to the people here. There are few positive and exciting musicians who can calm our spirits and provide light. That is not the only reason we need her over here: the music provided differs from everything else and definitely needs larger airing. Every time I see Kirbanu produce a new video; she is in a different spot and narrates where she is. It would be good, if time permits, to see a travelogue from her. Getting her on the road and talking to the local people; embracing new cultures and mixing her musical messages with the varied and wonderful people of where she is. I am not sure what it would be called but there is something infectious and unmistakably positive about Kirbanu. She already produces videos – taking that a step further and having regular, longer videos would help a lot of people out there. Maybe there will not be time to do that with new music due. It is going to be a busy year for Kirbanu and she’ll want to find some rest and relaxation among it all. We are becoming less optimistic as a people and, with every year, things are getting harder. Politics doesn’t help that; the way the world is unfolding means anxiety increases and many of us are suffering because of it. Music is a great way of forgetting about those pains and finding something more encouraging and nourishing. There are few can listen to a Kirbanu track and not feel better about themselves and life. Her effusive and rich personality comes through in every note.
I shall come to look at her latest track in a bit but, before then, a final look at determination and why Kirbanu should be highlighted. Her most-recent message/post on Facebook talks about her move to Germany. She was keen to forge a new life and find opportunities. It is hard moving anywhere: going from Australia to Germany is a huge move! Not only is the distance daunting: the people differ vastly between Adelaide and Heidelberg. There are few brave enough to make that move at all. Kirbanu knew how hard it would be but did not let slammed doors and failed auditions hold her back. She always knew music was her vocation and, as such, has grafted and worked endlessly to achieve her dreams. She still wants more and, with each new phase of her career; you see that determination and desire come through. Success, as she says, is finding that crack in the wall and visualising what you want; staying strong and knowing it will happen eventually. It can be hard finding the patience to stick to your guns and believing you will make it. Most people have goals in life but, for musicians and artists, those are often loftier and harder to achieve. For people like me, too, there are those high standards and big dreams. I want to realise them all and get as far as I can in the world. I know Kirbanu seems like cheer personified and an endless ray of sunshine. She is human and has the same depression, pains and heartache as all of us. She has had bleak days and had her heart broken; she has felt tired and questioned her own words now and then. That is only natural. What amazes me is how productive and inspiring Kirbanu is. She is constantly speaking to her followers and giving them reason to keep aspiring. In her own life; the music gets better and stronger; the visions and themes widen – everything is getting richer and more attractive. That comes from a woman who has lofty sights and will always believe in herself.
It is exciting witnessing new Kirbanu music – seeing what it is about and what new sounds are brought in. From the very first moments of I’ll Take My Leave Here; there is something soothing and energetic, all at the same time. The electric strings remind me, in a strange way, of James Bay’s Hold Back the River. There is that same calm and sound you’d find in that introduction. Any suggestions of Bay are left at the sure where the rain starts to beat. The percussion comes in tough and stiff; it melts the strings away and gives the listener impressions of departure and transition. The beats tease and hiss and there is that sense of movement throughout. Whereas previous Kirbanu songs have been more pastoral and restrained; here, there is greater desire and adventure. It is appropriate given what she is discussing in the song. Words of being bound by hope and needing to leave come through. Maybe she is referring to her old life (in Australia) and how she needed to relocate to achieve her dreams. Perhaps she has been let down by a man and not been treated well. There is the desire to find fresh ground and sense of realisation. There are desires at heart and a passion for change. Previously; the heroine has been moored by hope and a way of life. Each change she goes through changes who she is. Those words and that sentiment make me think. Maybe that refers to relationships or a new city; the way life throws obstacles and how she must transition. The voice lingers and resonates. It is a big and bold performance that floats in the sky and creates colours and shadows at the same time. I have heard few more passionate performances all year. Although I’ll Take My Leave Here is about those harder times and adapting: the need and desire to reaffirm worth and find success is clear.
The heroine will take her leave and carve a path through unknown paths. The chorus is delivered with true meaning and intent. It is time to move on and transition to a new phase. We are all in the position where we want to change things and move on from an older way of living. Our reasons for change might be different. For our heroine; she has got all she can from her current life and needs to move along. You can sense that move and movement as the song progresses. The past has served her well and there are no big regrets in her mind. This existence has run its course and it is the natural moment to see what else is out there. The power of the voice gets right into the heart and under the skin. An endless sense of drama and flair means the song never sounds uninteresting or vague. Kirbanu commits to the lyrics and ensures every note means something. The subtle and gliding strings, fused with the beats and smash, gives I’ll Take My Leave Here mixed emotions and contrasting sides. On the one hand; you feel the heroine is in a good frame of mind where she can move on without any regrets. The tough beats and strain in the vocal make me believe the decision is quite hard. She has established a life where she is and it is going to be challenging disconnecting from that. I can emphasise with that and understand where Kirbanu is coming from. There is, above it all, a sense of relief having this realisation and clarity. Rather than remain trapped in a rut where she lives the same day all the time…now, she knows what she wants and is going out there to get it. The song gets more urgent and skipping towards the end. The vocals become wordless and the beats race. It is a spirited and energised ending that symbolises that actual movement and journey. She is leaving her current home and, by train or plane, departing and looking forward to the next phase. As the final notes/vocals take the song down; I wonder whether other songs on Echo Chamber (the E.P.) will address Kirbanu’s new life and that sense of evolution. In any case; I’ll Take My Leave Here is a stunning song from a restless and always-wonderful songwriter.
I will end things very soon but, before then, a look at where Kirbanu is headed. I know her E.P. is out until the beginning of March – it was funded through a PledgeMusic. Her last album, Drifting, was funded two years ago – another crowd-sourcing project that was successful and, because of that funding, able to realise all of Kirbanu’s visions. This E.P., as she says, is the most poignant collection of songs to date. She has travelled and played around the world since then and experienced new emotions. Drum pads and gritty organs are in there; big percussion and synth moments; lush and densely-layered sounds that take her music a step further. There are changes between the two projects. The album was a beautiful and spellbinding collection of songs with softer tones and that message of hope. Echo Chamber is a tougher and atmospheric thing that is an evolution and step from Drifting. It will be exciting seeing it out in the ether and getting an airing around the world. It is great to see Kirbanu build her music and incorporate new aspects into it. There will be German dates very soon but, after that, I wonder whether she will come to the U.K. and perform here. The U.S. will come calling and there will be big demands coming in. The successful funding of her E.P. means the people are behind it; she can create the best work possible; offer rewards to those backers and know she can rely on her fans to help create her music. That support and mutual respect mean Kirbanu will look ahead and think about possible albums and E.P.s of the future. There is a lot to be excited about for Kirbanu. I will follow her every step of the way and cannot wait to see how far she goes. If she does come to London; I will be sure to come see her and buy her a drink! It is the least I can do for all that wonderful music and supportive messages. Many others feel the same way – maybe a hug would be a healthier option considering the number of people who owe her thanks! I’ll Take My Leave Here shows what a treasure-trove Echo Chamber is. It is a slightly new direction for Kirbanu but retains all her fabrics and sides. Listen to the song; let it swim in the bloodstream and prepare yourself…
PHOTO CREDIT: Ulli Kiefner
FOR a wonderful and spellbinding E.P.
ALL PHOTOS (except E.P. artwork and main image): Ulli Kiefner