Aaron Dolman
“Willow Bunch”

by Tia Julien

October 28, 2019

Evan Shay

Aaron Dolman’s new single, “Willow Bunch”, sets the mood for his first full-length album, Nostalgia and Other Fantasies, scheduled for release next month. The instrumental track teases the album’s theme, featuring an interplay of distinct voices as they coalesce in time. The mood is inspired by the Montreal artist’s feelings of nostalgia while sifting through old childhood photos. The single itself is named after the small town in Saskatchewan from which Dolman began composing Nostalgia and Other Fantasies. “Willow Bunch” is the jumping-off point for the collection of unique sounds to follow.

With his five-piece chamber-folk ensemble, Dolman weaves layers of sound in his exploratory union of folk and jazz influences. The combination of styles gives this tune an interesting quality with elevated melodies. The heavy-handed, swing downbeat of the drums creates a groove that you want to jive along to. Much like a traditional jazz tune, there is a sort of dance taking place among the electric and acoustic leads. With Dolman’s improvisatory touch, the result is a playful conversation of happy moments and unresolved tension; much like the experience of nostalgia. For a lover of multiple music genres, “Willow Bunch” checks the boxes for a unique and palatable sound.

With this strange yet cohesive arrangement, “Willow Bunch” exhibits a negotiation of voices, embodying the contradiction of past and present that emerges in moments of nostalgia. While the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and viola trade melodies, the upright bass and drums maintain the frame of the interaction. “Willow Branch” challenges the ear to renounce expectations and enjoy the unrest of overlapping sounds.

Tia Julien

Contributor at DOMINIONATED
Tia Julien is a writer, musician, and graduate student of ethnomusicology. When she’s not writing sad songs, Tia is studying spoken-word poetry, freelancing as an educator, and getting a little too personal on her blog.
Tia Julien

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