YASH ZODGEKAR explores the oscillations between past and present in Daneshevskaya’s upcoming EP Long Is The Tunnel.
A fascination with the lore of past generations has long been central to Daneshevskaya, the indie-folk project of New York based songwriter Anna Beckerman. It even permeates the name of the project itself, which belongs both to Beckerman as a middle name, and to her Russian-Jewish great-grandmother. On her sophomore EP Long Is The Tunnel, Beckerman delves deeper into her familial past, presenting seven songs written during a period in which both her grandparents passed away.
Coloured by these events, Beckerman is nevertheless forward-looking, concerned with both tracing her lineage and examining how to reconstruct the world in light of it. This manifests in the sonic contrasts of the record. The sweeping baroque strings and piano flourishes of her debut EP Bury Your Horses return to wrap around the warmth of her voice, but this formula is now underpinned by a heftier low end of guitar and drums more reminiscent of her indie-rock peers. This comes to the fore on ‘Big Bird’, whose loud-soft transitions between distorted wall-of-sound guitars and intimate verses embody the experience of a subconscious feeling suddenly becoming apparent before the song gives way to frantic double time drums and guitar fuzz: “The biggest bird I’ve ever seen, Landed right in front of me”. Similarly, Beckerman breathes fresh life into the rhythmic structure of a waltz on the hushed, acoustic guitar-centred ‘Pink Mold’.
This interplay between new and old continues on ‘Bougainvillea’. While intricate piano runs recalling childhood music lessons trade fours with a rich violin backdrop, Beckerman cuts through this grandeur with a locution that feels distinctly modern, calling out the ‘fucking lies’ of a partner. This theme of deception remerges on the closer ‘Ice Pigeon’, as Beckerman considers the fallibility of her own desires, lamenting over twinkling ornaments that ‘everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie that I want to believe’. Lyrically, Beckerman is more evocative when concerned with specifics like these, which yield more vivid imagery than ambiguous questions like the refrain of ‘Challenger Deep’ which idly ponders ‘Will you wait for me at the end?’
What Beckerman seems to draw from the past more than anything is wisdom and contentment with the imperfection of the present. She struggles with uncertainty early in the track listing, anxiously caught between the counterfactuals ‘With you or without you’ and ‘for you or for no one’ on ‘Somewhere in the Middle’. Yet, by the penultimate track ‘ROY G BIV’, she has found clarity and ease amidst the sensory overload of the external world, harmonising with a chorus of voices to repeat the mantra ‘It’s all in rainbow order, on the way down’. To accompany Beckerman on this journey is to traverse these moments of catharsis with her; at their most tactile, this is an enchanting experience.
Long Is The Tunnel will be available for listening on most streaming platforms this Friday, November 10.