Wide Arches is the project of Juno-nominated singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Jacob Gorzhaltsan. He’s just released his debut album, born in pandemic lockdown. It’s called Farewell to All the Lovely Things.
By Graeme Smith
Though conceived in isolation, Farewell to All the Lovely Things was created in collaboration. Jacob worked remotely with other artists to create its compositions, and was awarded a grant by the Toronto Arts Council to help make it happen. The result perhaps captures the spirit of lockdown where we all still managed to make connections, despite the enforced separation, and there’s a sense of intimacy about it that only a home studio can provide.
The album opens with Sadness Wears Her Prettiest Dress. It’s a melancholic opening but its folksy instrumentals have a liveliness to them that is instantly engaging. The imagery of the lyrics are striking and it’s clear that Jacob is a natural storyteller. It’s a beautiful start.
Pictures in the Sand takes things in a gentler direction while its lyrics remain heart-breaking. Lake Scene is wonderfully atmospheric, with some unexpected instrumental textures and vivid lyrics. Butterfly is as atmospherically rich, with some intricate guitar plucking. Lyrically, it’s a cosmic journey and a highlight.
Upside Down feels splendidly gritty, drawing on influences such as Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. Fake Smiles, Artificial Laughs is stark and biting while Waves lightens the mood with some delicate ambiance and meditative lyrics. Your Love is a punchy and vaudevillian anti-love highlight.
Roadkill Cafe is a dark story tempered by upbeat instrumentals. Grass Beneath Your Feet is a wistful, nostalgic, illicit waltz. Ballerina is a light and soaring moment that unfolds gradually before Wasting Away closes the album with a stripped-back and vulnerable experimental country folk number that lingers.
There are few better musical storytellers that I’ve reviewed than Jacob Gorzhaltsan. With his Wide Arches project, he’s created a dark world that seems to mirror our own all too strikingly, peopled it, and brought it to life through thoughtful, atmospheric instrumental arrangements. Put simply, it’s a wonder.
Farewell to All the Lovely Things features Meagan Luchko, Kalyna Rakel, Jared Higgins, Bret Higgins, Lowell Whitty, Michael Eckhart and Molefe Mohamid-Mitchell. The album was mixed and produced by Jacob, and mastered by Justin Gray of Immersive Mastering/Synthesis Sound. You can check it out below.