Grounded in the singer-songwriter tradition, Vancouver musician Piper Cole steps boldly forward into sun-soaked, experimental landscapes with her début EP release Wildish. With captivating energy and spirited electro-folk sensibilities, Wildish is the combined force of a classically trained soprano and a down-to-earth contemporary songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Cole’s melodies are at once bright and haunting, unique and nostalgic, supported by rhythmic drive and carried by clear, effortless vocals.
Wildish has a multi-dimensional dream-folk sound, produced by Cole herself with the assistance of co-producer Daniel Klenner. Combining traditional acoustic folk instruments with modern synths and sound design, Cole has created a work that beautifully tethers the breadth of her musical experience. The vocals are often layered, choral; Cole’s voice is controlled and elegant, but never restrained, characterized by high-pitched coloratura that embodies a baroque pop surreality reminiscent of Kate Bush. As the tracks progress, the vocals become focused and fierce, resounding through a forest of percussion. Listeners will find something new with every adventure through Wildish—misty corners, twinkling skies behind lush layers of instrumentation.
The uninhibited quality of Cole’s trained voice is reflected in the EP’s thematics; the lead track, “Bones” tells of the artist’s striving for authentic self-expression against the constraints of social conditioning and limiting beliefs. “Pushing out and balancing,” Cole sings over hypnotic guitar riffs, “I want to see farther out over these / keen limbs and dancing bones.” The title track outlines the breakdowns and detours, the rivers that must be crossed as we follow our ‘wildish’ intuition. An excavation of human nature as well as a call to action, Wildish “howl[s] for all the good girls,” inviting them to return to a pre-domesticated state, to “raise [their] noise maker” and be free.
Cole’s story begins in childhood. A quiet and sensitive child, she found solace in the tonic of music. Immersed in her parents’ Carly Simon and Rolling Stones records, Cole decided early on that singing was her calling. Composing her first songs with shapes and colours before she could write words, she found that music sprang up from a place deep within, and provided her with a source of expression and connection to the great mystery.
Since those younger years, Cole has been on a quest to fortify her musical artist palette with formal training electro-acoustic composition, sound design and music production all the while honing her carefully crafted songs. Also trained as a psychotherapist, Cole has spent much of her life studying the human condition which is reflected in her art. “Traveling from winter to winter,” she sings in “Murmuration”, “are we just passing through?” A passionate advocate of the healing power of music, Cole conducted qualitative research on Therapeutic Voicework in 2010, with exciting results. This research has intensified her desire to create, to sing, to connect with herself and others through song.
“Singing and songwriting have always been a way that I have made sense of the world and expressed emotions that need more than words,” Cole says. And the emotional heart of this EP is palpable; there is a sense of true connection and release in the musical intricacies, groovy dance beats, and atmospheric lyricism. Wildish takes listeners on a journey through history and heartache, the struggle to “climb the scars of time”, but ultimately it is a journey of transformation, of risk-taking, inner earthquakes, and the healing power of poetry and music.