Basia Bulat 
The Garden

Secret City Records • 2022

The reimaginings on Basia Bulat’s The Garden remind us that growth is an ongoing chance to articulate old ideas in new ways.

What’s not to love about Basia Bulat? Her style is distinctly folk, both soft and powerful, and free to roam in her reimaginings of past voicings. The Montreal-based songwriter’s latest release, The Garden, is a compilation album of her previous works. In an industry that values production over process, Bulat defies expectation and breathes new life into past songs, a reminder that growth is an ongoing chance to articulate old ideas in new ways. 

Remakes are a craft in subtlety that Bulat executes beautifully: “Walking through, minding the old fence, on the edge of an ocean,” she sings on the title track, “The Garden”. In collaboration with Owen Pallet, the orchestration of strings lends emotional inflection to each new arrangement. After getting a sense of these songs in their own right, I was tempted to do some comparative listening. What I found is that, however aligned their composition is between one version and the next, each version is its own entity, yet connected through the cycle of regeneration.

Though I’ll spare the redundancy of delving into more horticultural metaphors, The Garden does represent a kind of cyclical regeneration that fosters grace. In this new season, Bulat’s voice sounds a little less keen and a little more contemplative. The Garden is a soul-soothing reminder that there is beauty in slowing down, looking back, and looking forward again.

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