Danish artist Astrid Nora, began recording as Where Did Nora Go in 2012, releasing several albums and EPs, before taking a break to become a mother. This proved to be a powerful experience, not least because Astrid’s twin girls were born prematurely and it was by no means obvious that there would be a happy ending for a long while. Now, some four years later, Astrid has poured these feelings into a new five track EP, Womb of Life. Recorded live, all five tracks were done in one take each and some are the first take recorded as well.
Womb of Life is a coherent group of songs that come together in a spiritual sound; these songs are full of dreamy pop sounds that convey an incredible sense of light, warmth and love, thanks in part to the piano. Astrid has played piano since childhood and, having predominantly used the cello for her earlier recordings, returned to her first instrument here.
The stand out track for me is ‘Never Falter‘, which whilst singing about never giving up and never stopping or faltering, emits a chilled, relaxing feeling. I felt like the music was holding me in the warmth and light of the sun. Astrid’s distinctive vocals, reminiscent of both Bjork and Kate Bush are at their best on this track. This feeling continues into ‘I’m Still Here‘, which explores the feeling of emerging from the blanket of parenthood and still making music – the energy needed for both can be heard here whilst also being chilled.
The spirituality I referred to earlier comes across in different ways throughout the EP, but ‘She Loves‘ holds a particular message of love and hope, whereas faith, in any guise, comes to the fore in the lead track, ‘Surrounded By Light‘. Overall, this is a work that delivers great melodies and makes you feel, as well as think about life and all it’s complexities.
Astrid’s advice for aspiring musicians delves under the surface of being a musician and what lies behind that decision, combined with a little practicality:
Dive deeply into yourself – and deeper still. Discover your own world and your uniqueness and what it is you have to bring to the world. Everybody’s got something special. Discover what it is for you and stay true to that. Be brave. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Have your own back and just keep going. Perseverance is key as well as learning how to enjoy the process. As ‘Never Falter’ says “Keep your eyes on the purpose, aim for what is yours to give – and you can never go wrong, you can never falter”.
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