Stars that break out from ensembles are not uncommon in the music industry, Ghrol; moving from Nirvana to The Foo Fighters, Damon Albarn; moving from lead singer of Blur to the musical engine behind the Gorillaz and of course Justin Timberlake who blossomed before our eyes after leaving NSYNC. Ashleigh Hazel now find themselves in some pretty impressive company, releasing debut single Gemini.
The incredible performer and producer has been known up to this point as the bass wizard in Canberra staple Helena Pop! a killer hired gun, session musician for many of Canberra’s new and upcoming bands, as well as the go to producer for many of Canberra’s emerging artists. But here we have something all their own. A beautiful and enchanting song that shows another side to the artist.
The layers and harmony of this song instantly sent shivers down my spine, beautiful guitar and strings drenched in reverb opening up the track. I have read that this is the first time Hazel has put their voice on a song and I have to ask, what took so long? The melody is beautifully written and performed and the stacking of layers and masterful production makes this song an experience deeper than listening to your average song.
I found myself getting lost in all the layers, trying to pick out individual sounds but being swept along by the song as it continues to plumb the depths of my brain and soul. I can’t even begin to break down the layers and knowing Ashleigh as a friend, I know there are layers in there that I haven’t even picked up, but there is a beautiful use of field recording (it sounds like a beach and an airport and someone riding a bike amongst other things. Also knowing the technical playing proficiency of the artist, I think I heard some string scraping, a technique used on classical stringed instruments. There’s the provoking picked guitar that feels so free but also purposeful, like having dinner plans in four hours but deciding to walk instead of getting an Uber.
This song is just beautiful and well worth a listen, knowing Hazel there is more to come (hopefully soon) and I can hardly wait to see what they do next.