With the release of 2019’s Fishtale EP, Belgian vocalist and songwriter Charlotte Jacobs set course for a creative expedition based in both intuition and experimentation. The Brooklyn-based musician found liberation through her first solo pursuit, fusing her jazz studies background with an inventive and progressive avant pop approach. With The Shape of Wandering, Jacobs dials in on the evolutionary groundwork laid out by Fishtale, tinkering with the endless possibilities of synths while harnessing vocal shades and textures. Inspired by Anne Clark’s mantric spoken word and multidisciplinary artist-musician Laurie Anderson, Jacobs wields her voice as an instrument, setting scenes with layered vocal backdrops on “Where You Want Me To,” navigating jazz inspired melodies and progressions on “Other Half” and looping her voice as an unwavering rhythmic pacemaker on the back half of the title track.
The Shape of Wandering is both fluid and uniform, balancing the needed precision required for working with programmable and live acoustic percussion, a first for Charlotte Jacobs. Merging styles and backgrounds with the floating, free improv techniques of avant garde percussionist and composer Raf Vertessen, Jacobs’ structured art pop pieces incorporate an element of free-form abstraction. “B” capitalizes on the effectiveness of this technique, seamlessly weaving Vertessen’s interpretive performance into Charlotte Jacobs’ dense, fixed arrangements to add a palpable dimension to the piece. The EP represents the open ended and indeterminable; The Shape of Wandering is an amorphous reflection of the shapeless paths of life, a commentary on the measureless collective stream of consciousness juxtaposed to the internal struggle of the self-critiquing individual. Jacobs seeks to grasp her environments with empathy and understanding, reclaiming the feminine strength of softness in a world calcified by ignorance and confusion. Influenced by visual arts, poetry and dance, Charlotte Jacobs’ work translates artistic mediums, an element mirroring the perspectives the songwriter seeks to convey - a worldly city, a passing remark, a stranger on a subway car. The Shape of Wandering is inherently sensitive and confidently exploratory, a sobering outlook on the tumultuous and unpredictable patterns of the world around us.
released April 9, 2021
“The Shape of Wandering”
All songs written & produced by Charlotte Jacobs
Co-produced by Zubin Hensler
Percussion & drums by Raf Vertessen
All vocals, programming & other instruments by Charlotte Jacobs & Zubin Hensler
Recorded & mixed by Zubin Hensler at Studio 44, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Mastered by Frederik Dejongh at Jerboa Mastering Gent, Belgium
Pictures by Francis Vanhee
Artwork by Mona Schietekat