Listening. It's a lost art. At least, Alison Sudol, who records under the name A Fine Frenzy, thinks so.
"There's a large part of listening that gets lost," she says. "Listening to the world, listening to the universe, and listening to what life is trying to tell you. We lose the sheer act of listening and the act of surrendering. There's a beauty in surrendering and allowing life to move through you, and letting go."
She says this observation informed her latest work.
"That's a big theme on the record," she says, " letting go."
That record, "Pines," is Los Angles-based Sudol's third, and it's accompanied by a book and a stop-motion short film. She calls "Pines," which is a spare, pretty rumination about a pining tree, a fable and a metaphor.
Though it's Sudol's story, she gives her band and producer Keefus Green much credit in realizing it on record.
"They brought so much energy, texture and sound," she says. "They brought their own creativity to it in a way that made the songs evolve in a way I didn't expect. That was another exercise in letting go."
But while she let go, they were listening: "At the beginning of each recording session, everyone would sit around me in a semi-circle and I'd tell them what was happening in the story and what kind of emotion to capture. I remember thinking how wonderful it was to see these glorious musicians listening so carefully to me telling my little story about a pine tree. It was lovely."
The other L word
Besides listening and letting go, there’s another L word rooted in “Pines”: loss. Sudol is all-aglow as she speaks to Metro from Seattle, which she calls her hometown, even though she left it when she was 5.
“I have tried to make places my home, put my roots there. But I never really felt that feeling again. This record was essentially a journey to stop pining and find what I was looking for, even if I didn’t really know what that was.”
If you go
A Fine Frenzy
with Joshua Radin
Next Saturday, Nov. 3
One Hamilton Place, Boston