Hear: a steady upright bass singing low—over the sounds of kids laughing and playing; soft, intricate vocal harmonies that melt together like cream; the hum of strings like a soft swarm of bees; a gratifying rhythmic shift. Take these elements (among others), add lyrics that feel almost-familiar, not because you’ve heard them but because you’ve felt them before, and you have Chicago's Sedgewick.
Named "Best New Folk Music Act" by Newcity Magazine, Sedgewick's multi-dimensional debut EP "Gardens" offers gentle arcs and motion (both moving forward and pulling back, in semblance to the tide) and calls forth history, a bittersweet nostalgia (as if there is any other kind of nostalgia). Members sing of nostalgia that it is an act of “grasping at vines.” At times, the listener is situated in a park-like public space, or perhaps by a river. At other times, more organic sounds are infiltrated by the buzz of something mechanical like a heart monitor in a hospital, or the glitch of a subtle malfunction of one of the many devices on which most of our daily lives rely.
These tunes echo a circular trajectory, evoking present, past and future. This uncanny comfort doesn’t occur just because the artists who comprise Sedgewick have been making music together for many years now or because this music sounds like the craft of old friends—but because the many layers of each song guide listeners through an experience of time on a loop. And because this experience of time is, in fact, a reflection of life, there is joy and relief to be found in these songs, a kind of sonic sympathy.
It’s as though the young, talented musicians, artists who come from the west, east, and very center of this diverse country, are making some kind of map key together. Their directory speaks of the novice of walking, paving a new path beside an old road that is sometimes buckling, sometimes regrettably sturdy.