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Photo Credit: Joan Hathaway
Lovina Falls’ debut album, the summer’s enchanting Calculating the Angle of Our Descent, is a record about experiences – both ones we’ve endured and how we prepare for what’s ahead. So as Valerie Forgione’s blossoming art-pop project prepares for its debut live performance, December 2 at The Rockwell Theatre in Somerville, Massachusetts, it’s fitting that another video from the record continues to tell its visual story.
Through its latest chapter, The Big Takeover is excited to premiere the new Lovina Falls music video for “Today,” self-directed and edited by Forgione, the former vocalist of alt-rock luminaries Mistle Thrush. The swirling, piano-led escapade echoes the slinky song’s exploration of the human psyche, particularly in times of distress, and it follows a pair of Joan Hathaway-directed music videos (July’s “On Your Side” and September’s “Vaulted”), which bring a visual component to the storylines heard and felt across Calculating the Angle of Our Descent.
“This song was inspired by people I care about having a difficult time during lockdown,” says Forgione. “Their self-worth was so tightly bound to social interactivity that without constant contact with others, they began to doubt themselves and question their own self-worth. They would fall into a really dark place and grab on to anything, anyone, or any circumstance that promised escape, regardless whether or not it was a good idea.”
Like most things in the world of Lovina Falls, the visual and the aural go hand-in-hand.
“The song personifies these experiences in a Grimm-like tale, where the forest path, lined with flames, leads to a place where the villain assumes the form of protector,” Forgione adds. “In short, it’s about being paralyzed by insecurity and fear, and being tempted to follow the path of least resistance. The video is meant to resemble what you might see in your head where logic and unreality collide; similar to what you see before you sleep, when trying to solve a problem or untangle a mystery.”
“Today,” as well as the nine other songs on the album, help craft Lovina Falls’ cinematic world, which assembles moods and emotions that are further defined by the listeners’ own interpretations. It’s how the conflict between self-preservation and letting go can vary from person to person, how knowledge and the unknown can shape ideology, and elements like madness and deception can influence recollection and foresight.
Lovina Falls has so far presented these works in recorded versions, but is now excited to allow them to breathe and evolve in a live setting, where her panoramic origins of the songs give way to the feelings of those hearing them. It’s fitting Forgione has chosen an intimate theater setting for this debut show, which draws on various layers of artistic performance and fosters community between performer and attendees. But with that comes a bit of risk, especially for a project conceived as a solo endeavor.
“I love writing, recording, and performing music, and have spent most of my life doing so,” Forgione admits. “Since Mistle Thrush, I’ve been scoring for theater, independent film, and podcasts, and while it can be rewarding to work with the directors and actors to set the tone or mood for a scene, so much of it is done in isolation. I miss being able to connect with people directly. And I really miss singing with a group of like-minded people. The experience is unmatchable.”
Throughout Calculating the Angle of Our Descent – its title suggesting a notion of how both jumping and falling can elicit a similar sensation – Forgione provides a creative core and overarching singular musical vision, one that dances freely across avenues of dream-pop, synth, indie, dark cabaret, baroque-pop, nu-goth, and indie-pop, all tied together by her mystical melodicism, introspective lyrics, and her distinct alto singing voice.
The record was co-produced by Forgione with David Minehan and recorded at Woolly Mammoth Sound in Waltham, Forgione performed all of the album’s instrumentation, with some assistance from those in her creative orbit. Joining Lovina Falls to bring the recorded album to performative life are Forgione’s Mistle Thrush bandmates Scott Patalano on guitar and Matt Klain on bass, Los Angeles based session drummer Justin Dusty Rocherolle on drums (Green & Yellow TV), Laura Klain on backing vocals (The Daylilies), Marnie Hall on violin (Boston Music Award nominee), and Boston music veterans Brenden Cobb on guitar and Carrie Ingber on keys.
“It’s kind of like taking a book and rewriting it with a group of incredibly talented wordsmiths,” Forgione says. “From the first rehearsal, it’s been incredible to hear the songs take new shape while still retaining the core. While we were mixing it, I was sure performing the album live would not be doable. But thankfully, in working the live show with such gifted musicians, I think we may be able to pull it off.”