Premiere: Chuditch makes a debut with stirring first song, Grasping at the Water
One of Perth's most celebrated songwriters steps up with a solo project, and what a debut it is.
Header image by Damien Goerke.
Those familiar with Perth's live music space would already know the name Leigh Gardiner (if he's not a close friend of them already, that is). Over the last few years, he's moved between different bands and started a couple of his own as well, and when he's not someone found across West Australian stages, he's often someone found amidst the crowd, as someone who has always had a keen eye on Perth's next generation and the rich tapestry of talent that underlays it.
Despite everything that's happened in 2020 and its impact on West Australia's live stages, this is something that has long continued in the past ten months or so, but with the launch of his new solo project Chuditch today, it feels like things are being taken to the next level - and what a long time coming it is. Chuditch sees Gardiner's long history of potent songwriting distilled into its most intimate and personal form; the solo project allowing his visions to come to life in the way that he wants it, and as a result, it feels like a clear-cut view into one of Perth's best musical minds.
With its premiere on Pilerats today ahead of its greater release later this week, Grasping at the Water is an introductory moment to Chuditch and everything Gardiner aims to bring with the project - and what a debut it is. It's a stirring four-minutes that brings the musician's vision to life at an early peak, brooding with lush instrumentation and vulnerable songwriting that really stands out amongst the single's ebbs and flows, distilling years and years of songwriting into its most brilliant form for a debut single that feels like the launch of something special.
It's quick to understand why too. Grasping at the Water emerges with comparisons to The National's rich soundscapes, and it's a comparative not too far off thanks to the song's stirring instrumentation that gradually layers itself as the song draws longer, bringing together these rich melodies with moving strings. Together, they form a soft sway that draws you in and demands your attention while Chuditch's vocal takes centre stage over the top, brooding with this sense of thick emotion that itself feels reminiscent of some of Australia's most brilliant musicians - even Nick Cave, for example.
The song is lush and heavily-layered yet subtle and delicate all at once, and as Chuditch explains, the song goes deep on the life around him, which he dissects with a lyrical intricacy that makes the track one of the year's most brilliant. "I have a lot of friends from different walks of life, some of which with opinions I don’t necessarily agree with," he says on the single, part-influenced through a road trip amongst West Australia's south-west, and part-influenced by witch hunts and pureness, brought forward into a 2020 lens. "I’m not a particularly confrontational person, but I want to be able to start some friendly discussions and call out what I think is unhelpful opinions. This song was a way of putting that desire in writing."
It's a theme that's doubled down with its official video clip, which visually brings the single's theme to life with a bit of extra depth, observing it from a social media angle. The clip emphasises the usage of social media in 2020 and how it ties into the song's exploration of discussion and opinion, with trolling and negativity being something that heavily occupies discussional spaces on social media and thus, stops people from feeling like they want to chime in.
Filmed by Nathan Martella and starring Chuditch on centre stage, the clip is a brilliant visual companion to the song that really carves Grasping at the Water a place amongst the year's most layered local releases, and you can take a dive into it below as the song and video clip premieres on Pilerats ahead of its official release this Friday, October 30th.
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