Toronto Composer Nick Storring is a prolific artist. As a composer, writer, musician and arts curator he seems to be everywhere, and yet he managed to touch down long enough to complete his seventh solo album. Consistently surprising us with his dexterous layering and technology skills, Newfoundout is a perfect blend of Storring’s musical ear for raw audio beauty and his skillful sound assembly. A completely acoustic layering of curiosities – is that a vuvuzela in harmony? – the compositions are so deftly complete you will forget to keep asking what you are hearing. From the first track Dome, a full 12’41” piece that could have been presented in a concert hall, it’s nearly impossible to find the distinction between what might have been improvised and what might be composed. Each track is intentionally directed, spare and transparent, blissfully curious at times and at others suspended in outer space, swirling in dust and light. Storring ensures that there is nothing superfluous to cloud the beauty of the found sounds; drums dance, dog whistles sing, and the final mix is perfect. One is reminded of the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction.”
The album flows superbly as a whole. Never aimless, each piece weaves intentionally between composed sections and exquisitely layered psychedelia, anchored with an assortment of undefined instruments, plucked strings, pianos and drum rhythms. It’s like witnessing the mysteries of life on Earth. With tracks named after Ontario ghost towns, Newfoundout is a sublimely delicious curiosity. I lost track of the beginnings and ends of each piece and just enjoyed the entire album start to finish.