Beautiful. That’s the best way to describe Nathan Shubert’s album Folds. The songs evoke an intimate, homey feeling, akin to staying in the house depicted on the album’s artwork. At the same time, however, these songs manage to be uplifting, as if you are seeing stars twinkle on a clear cool night somewhere in the outdoors. And after a listen, you are left with a clarity that resembles the aftermath of a rainy day washing everything clean.
Folds is Nathan Shubert’s first full length release, following the two-track EP Saga Noren, Lanskrim, Malmo. This album is classical contemporary with minimalist piano compositions. All the songs are uplifting in their own ways. Some tracks are fast and fill you with energy like “Svalbard Bears” and “Saga Norén, Länskrim, Malmö,” while others are slower and more introspective. Songs like “Encampment” and “Gaze,” for example, give you a feeling of warmth that comes about when in good company. Regardless of the pace, however, this album inspires feelings both intimate and grand.
Much of this duality is due to the album’s composition. Every key very carefully places a beautiful new addition to an intricate and precious whole. The best example of this structure is “Folds.” A rhythm is played throughout the song with subtle changes and additions of new notes that make it both beautiful and beautifully fragile. These slight alterations are so delightful that the listener is overwhelmed by their sheer wonder. “Thought and Thinker” is another example of this album’s precise composition. It lives up to its name with a brilliant harmony between Shubert’s ideas and how they materialize.
Folds is a gorgeous intricate work defined by minute detail and subtlety. I first finished listening to the album at a library and then, around dusk, I took a walk. On that short jaunt, things looked clear and the world seemed patterned and pleasant. I’m not sure how Folds made me feel this way. Perhaps, the music in a close intimate setting creates a form of beautiful escapism, which, in turn, fosters a freshness of mind that you can take out into the world. But it is hard to capture the beauty of Folds with words, you will just have to give it a listen yourself.