Photo: Ian Torres

Ziemba explores intergenerational baggage on “Fear”, announces new album

El Paso-based artist Ziemba (aka René Kladzyk) has been having a productive year, namely in that in just over 12 months since the release of her last album, True Romantic, she’s announced her follow-up. Unsubtle Magic will be out December 10 via Sister Polygon Records, and with this announcement Kladzyk has also shared a new song, “Fear.” Of the track Kladzyk says:

One time a psychic told me that a curse was placed on me in the womb, and of course that was bullshit, she tried to sell me $800 in crystal therapy to lift the curse. But at the same time, intergenerational legacies of addiction, abuse, trauma and mental illness seep out at very inconvenient moments and for me often take the form of wondering if I’m cursed to destroy myself or the ones I love, just like some of my ancestors. This song is a journal entry from a day I felt very weighed down by that baggage. Musically, ‘Fear’ is indebted to The Roches, the Plastic Ono Band, Richard and Linda Thompson, and John Cale. Arranging it was a fun and intuitive process in collaboration with Don Godwin, and it arrived pretty naturally at its final state.

Imbued with the feeling of 70’s AM radio, Kladzyk’s upright piano takes the centre stage. Somewhere between Lennon’s “Imagine” and a Weyes Blood track, the song has a familiar quality that feels almost instinctive; you can imagine Kladzyk sitting down in front of her instrument and just letting the song seep out in front of you. The way she lingers on words (particularly the title word) has her turning vowels into tiny exhalations of fatigue. She sings of doubtful thoughts (“What’s the point of writing this stuff anyway? To falsify control? That I can change?”), all imbued with the weight of past lives seeping into her head, but with a certain abstract quality that never quite reveals anything too telling. It’s in between these lines that the mystery lives, and where listeners will be inclined to revisit in the hope of finding some answers.

Watch the video for “Fear” below or listen on your preferred streaming service.]

Unsubtle Magic is out December 10 on Sister Poloygon Records. Stay up to date with Ziemba via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.