South African-raised, London-based artist Anna Wolf is ushering in 2021 with the release of “Gong”, her most striking single to date.
More info about “Gong”
Like the ancient percussive instrument that it takes its name from, “Gong” issues a resonant signal for music lovers to join Wolf as she continues her journey of exploration into making music that is as singular as it is absorbing.
Observing the time boundaries of the classic pop song – coming in at just over three minutes – “Gong” effortlessly subverts the genre by drawing together different musical styles, from the other-worldly, at times operatic opening to the rock, guitar-driven centrepiece and then the enigmatic closing (“we sailing into winter’s storms”), all underpinned by a driving marching drum.
Lyrically, “Gong” continues Wolf’s ability to spin out a vivid world filled with creatures (here, foxes) and imaginings; a nearby far place that we partly recognise and that we always want to fully inhabit. Through a conversation between two people, she reflects on that liminal space between life and death – in this case, after an accidental overdose.
Anna Wolf explains
“I have been following Mac Miller’s incredible artistry for years and when he died in 2018, I was gripped by the thought of what it might feel like to realise that you have killed yourself.”
As her recent material (from 2018’s “Believer” to last year’s “Cocaine”) has consistently revealed, Wolf has an uncanny ability to penetrate beneath the surface of things and this is on superb display in “Gong”.
Anna Wolf comments on writing the lyrics for “Gong”
“Of course, I’ve never experienced knowing you are dying and realising that you did this yourself, but it moved me deeply to imagine what it might be like – and it was from that, that the lyrics to ‘Gong’ emerged.”
In a reflection of Wolf’s prototypical style, “Gong” has things secreted between its musical folds (including the song’s title) and its words hold multiple meanings. According to Wolf “The lyrics also speak about the death of the ego.”
Moving into a place of presence and stillness in order to write and record with purity is something that Wolf has been tracking throughout her artistic journey – from its formative days in her birthplace of Pretoria to Cape Town and Johannesburg, and now in London.
Along the way Anna Wolf has released multiple projects, including (under the moniker Tailor) the landmark and multiple award-winning indie album, The Dark Horse (2012) which was produced by Matthew Fink.
Fink is also the arranger and producer of “Gong” and he helps create the song’s complex yet irresistible musical landscape.
“Matthew speaks my language,” says Anna Wolf. “He’s able to retain the magic of Gong’s demo while layering sounds over it in a way that elevates it to something that’s truly mine; to something that is exactly what I heard in my head when I wrote it.”
You can download / stream “Gong” HERE.
Over the past decade, Anna Wolf has collaborated with numerous artists and producers (among them Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow, and Stereophonics’ Jamie Morrison) and performed to critical acclaim at various London venues (including The Troubadour and The Half Moon) and several international festivals (like SXSW and Oppikoppi).
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