Raven is the full length debut from local singer songwriter Domini Forster, it’s a compelling and intricate album with a dark narrative arc. The beauty in this record is the contrasting nature between the dark recesses of our psyche and the rays of light that appear to offer up a sense of hope. Forster’s songs have an almost literary feel to them, vivid in their detail and lucid in their honesty, each song feels connected to the next like an unfolding story. Combined with layered textures, overlapping string arrangements and harmonies Raven has a unique timeless feel to it.



Domini recently chatted to the Northsider and discussed the darker themes on the album and what inspired her writing. “My first EP Little Dreamer was a description of me at the time, naïve and hopeful whereas Raven is my dark bird comparatively. I’m a cathartic songwriter and I’m very introspective so its about me trying to sort out all the darker, flawed parts of myself. I think that is why it has that darker quality but I also feel it’s hopeful as well.”



Tracks like Under Water and Black Dog display a haunting intensity capturing the isolation and despair of depression whilst also offering a soothing glimmer of optimism. With such a strong theme connecting the songs I asked Domini if she intended to write a concept record.



“I didn’t set out to write a concept album initially, but when you write like I do which is very cathartic even though I take artistic license, it’s inspired by something that is effecting me emotionally.  It reflects what I was grappling with at the time, it’s the story of what has been going through my mind for the last two years. That is when the title Raven came into my head, it’s about me grappling with my shadows.”



One of the most impressive features of Raven is the crafting of each song musically, Domini employs dramatic arrangements from cascading strings that add dense layers to a more  bare and raw sound where her voice is given the space to convey the haunting nature of her songs. I asked Domini about the striking arrangements of her songs and how she developed that ability.



“I’ve played violin since I was in grade three and that is when I developed a love of arranging , my version of it is quite particular. I write the songs and then I record a rough demo of just the guitar and vocal and then I layer things on top of it. I treat it like a collage in the sense that all of the little parts in themselves are simple little lines and fragments but when you combine them it forms into one thing. I write from ear and then I layer harmonies and string parts and then I strip it back at the end and work out what works and then I chart it out at the end.”



Raven was recorded with producer/engineer Nick Huggins at his home studio Pocket Full of Stones at Point Lonsdale. The isolated location provided further inspiration for the arrangements, I asked Domini how working with Nick helped to shape the album.



“Part of the reason why I was excited about working with Nick is that he really understands the human element in music, the concept that beautiful things are made even more beautiful when they are a little bit imperfect, whether it’s strange distorted textures or little bits of noise. He is an amazing engineer he adds different textures and space, he just knows when something needs a different element whether it’s the use of a different microphone or instrument.”



Raven is one of the most impressive local releases in the last twelve months, Domini will be touring the album throughout March be sure to see her perform live at a venue near you.



Raven is out now check out Domini’s website for more details about her upcoming tour.


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