Now That the Light Is Fading - Maggie Rogers
American folk singer Maggie Rogers never really struck gold upon the release of her debut 10-track full-length The Echo, in 2012. Even her EP, The Response, released later that year, and her follow-up full-length Blood Ballet two years later were seemingly dismissed as forgettable records, despite their pleasance. It wasn't until 2016 when her swelling as Maryland's sweet-sounding mouthpiece really began to make headlines. Lead single and viral sensation "Alaska" caught the attention of Pharrell Williams during his Masterclass at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts as part of his 50th Anniversary Artist-In-Residency. Much to the delight of Williams, Rogers' confident display of individuality and frankness in her sound and her image bolstered her reputation as an artist: her previous records quickly garnered a serious amount of online streams from thirsty fans; she gained overnight fame on social media; and "Alaska", despite becoming subject to YouTube bootlegging, only assisted her success as an exciting new face in folk.
Proving she's not just a flash in the pan, she addressed her ailing fans with an eagerly-awaited EP, Now That the Light Is Fading. "Color Song", the records opening number, soulfully pays homage to her roots in Easton, Maryland's tranquil countryside; what with its naked instrumentation of evening crickets in the tall grass and an effortless vocal melody from Rogers, a noticeable stillness is formed. Then follows her acclaimed single "Alaska", which manifests totally a contemporary folk mix of homespun, lo-fi vocals and electro-pop influences from the likes of Bjork and Lorde. Guided by the buoyancy of Feist's "1234", "Alaska" is a sunny, uplifting and considered blend of two contrasting musical styles executed to perfection.
During the mid-latter stages of the EP, she shifts the attention to a more current musical style. "On + Off" is introduced with a looped piano motif and synthetic percussion, but her vocals are rarely ever consumed by this transition bar only the slightest touch of reverb. Even on the synth-led "Dog Years", she's rarely susceptible to betraying her authentic traditions. Closer "Better" is energised with poppy textures, but is tunefully depressed by Rogers' lower tones. Though her vocal ability alone is not breaking new ground, the production of her music is. Rogers is proud to go against the grain, and with buzz and quality in abundance, it's a winning combo.