Saturday, January 09, 2021

Fiona Apple opens up her book of life in an insightful new project ''Fetch the bolt cutters'' that parades her boundary-smashing attitude and skill for musical improvisation.

Indie sensation, Fiona Apple’s work has always been personal and intriguing. Her songs are honest and pure with most of her music in her home in peaceful Venice, Los Angeles. Apple’s works alone when creating her music, although she taps up some extra support for making the percussion sounds.

Fiona claims she feels more comfortable and in her element alone. It gives her freedom and space. Even though Fiona would like to ‘jam with other musicians’ it’s just something she hasn’t been able to get used to yet. Fiona relates to her voice as another instrument, claiming the best way is to just go with the flow. At the same time, singing makes her less overwhelmed and relaxed with her tone of singing. 

‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ is Fiona’s fifth album, with the album name improvised from a quote in the TV series The Fall; ‘’fetch the fucking bolt cutters and get yourself out of the situation you're in". The album goes into the depths of Apple’s complicated relationships with the women involved in her life. Affairs, emotion, and trauma. She brings up sexual misconduct and abuse and how bullying has impacted the past and present. The album is Fiona apples current state of mind and where she is with life right now.

Fiona says she was learning to be a better musician and while doing this project she has self-taught herself most of the studio’s instruments. Fiona recorded her self in the studio for the first time to see if she could get her sounds up to a professional level. In the end, she came to like how it sounded regardless of; however, she sounded even if it was imperfect to others.

While Fiona was recording and practising in the studio, her voice felt real and unfiltered. Fiona felt more wholesome and connected to her inner self; realising that accomplishing perfection is not something she wants as it almost seems unnatural. Even though Fiona states that ‘everyone is going to think this sounds stupid’, she thought to herself that this is her, this is her voice, and the instruments she is playing is her authentic self. You either accept and like it, or just don’t listen to it. Fiona’s most important rule is to be original because no one can sound like you when you are.

The cohesive statement behind ‘fetch the bold cutters’ is about standing up for yourself, breaking boundaries in whatever you have felt trapped and tied down in, and allowing yourself to accept it. Fiona understands that her art requires a majestic elevation of experience. ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ is a rejuvenating project filled with electric energy, not to mention it is forward-thinking in capturing what feels like a new cross-genre sound. Apple had spent years in her home; social distancing before it was even a thing. It’s necessary to give Fiona credit for her time and patience to create something creative and raw with iconic instrumentals and sampling.

In essence, the album is spell-binding and even features Fiona’s household pets such as her dogs sharp barking sound, and her cat making noise in the background. The animals add an unusual atmospheric sound, but this is no surprise as Fiona Apple has always been ahead of her time in creating new sounds. Apple’s also broke boundaries which once grounded her in typical mainstream genres, using objects in her home, moving them around and hitting them to make new sounds. Apple found an excellent way to make the sounds she couldn’t find in a traditional sense by looking for different inspiration.

Each song on the album seems like a confession and an honest conversation to herself, reminding her she does not need to change herself and she is complete enough. Apple’s finds that she is not the problem whilst taking control of her inner turmoil and making peace with herself. Fiona has always created music for herself as it was a way to talk to herself, it is just a bonus that we can share in her poetic vocals, messages and metaphors to understand them too.

Seray Sulun 
Image: The New Yorker 

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