Vancouver, BC singer-songwriter Rob Malowany gathered a small coterie of gifted musical compatriots to a one-day recording session this past July, to explore five deeply meditative and emotional raw musical compositions. The soulful outcome of this session, “Sécurité,” was released November 5th, 2021, as a continuing chapter for the Parkland Music Project. In a similar vein to last year’s “Eminent Ghosts,” the tracks are moody, reflective, and dense with brilliant interplay within the sparse arrangements between a quartet of bass, drum, guitar, and pedal steel.
Malowany imbues his lyrics with a world weary incantation while the band stokes heat and passion within the meaning of the songs – surrounding the singer’s tales at moments with formidable chaos, foreboding, risk, and a pervading sense of lonely courageousness. It is not easily clear at first what Malowany and company are expressing, but slowly, upon repeated listening, images emerge like one of those paintings done in reverse. The ensemble discovers, or perhaps more wisely said, uncovers, some lingering trajectory between hope and despair. Or are they charting a course through storm laden byways?
Of the five tracks presented, the final song “Landmine” is the most easily accessible, pointing toward some splinter of elemental light or beacon beckoning far off on an unseen horizon. The irony that moving toward such a signal is fraught with menace is surely intended. Accompanied by an alluring drum syncopation and pizzicato guitar, the tune seems almost celebratory. In light of its revelations, one finds listening to the previous four songs refreshed anew.
Without question, the band and Malowany are treading on uncertain territory, in a landscape forever changed, without signposts or the warning from previous travelers. This makes the project both thrilling and daunting, since the presentations of this music is not readily recognizable. Malowany describes his music as alt-country roots, but more often than expected, the tracks have the intimacy and introspective dreamscape of a jazz quartet digging deep into the source of inspiration and creativity.
The times we live through often shape the greatest of artists who, unadorned or unafraid, face the challenge of giving expression to the turbulence, draw lines in the sand, and leave markers along the way. “Sécurité” from Parkland Music Project is an uncompromising, demanding work of art that could easily be dismissed, but only at our peril.
“Sécurité” from Parkland Music Project is available on Offseason Records.
Recorded July 14th, 2021 at Raincity Recorders in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Engineered by Emily Ryan. Produced, Mixed, Mastered by Rob Malowany (vocals & guitar), with Shanto Acharia (bass), Robin James Hunter (slide guitar & lap steel), and Stephen Lyons (drums).