Natalie Bouloudis’s debut EP is the perfect document of her humbling creative powers at this point in time. Harbouring her own distinct sound, Dead Sea Scripts channels her experiences and meditations into a deeply enchanting record. By turns evoking sixties’ girl band nostalgia with the concise hook-driven songwriting of ‘Firebird’ or entertaining her darker side with the Bad Seed blues of ‘Whirlwind’, Dead Sea Scripts is a panoramic soundscape, loaded with pearls from her mythic lyricism and imagination. Alongside debut single ‘Burning Pier’ are five unheard tracks, with each song merging magical imagery and folk musicality with Natalie’s fundamentally relatable sentiments. ‘Romantic Bullshit Blues’ and ‘Firebird’ see her analysing the emotional tempest of heartbreak with forensic detachedness, and on the record’s spellbinding bookends ‘Raging Forcestress’ and ‘Float’ she reveals the disarming beauty and versatility in her singing voice. Above all, Dead Sea Scripts is the sound of an ambitious artist arriving fully formed and already at ease with her skills both musically and lyrically.
“My songs tiptoe on the edge of fiction and reality. I like rich melodies, moody skies, dark romanticism, charged atmospheres that tell hard-boiled tales.”
A native of East Sussex, Natalie Bouloudis first got her musical education in childhood, having played clarinet in jazz bands and had a few guitar lessons at school. From the age of seven she started writing her own music and has been (till recently) a secret songwriter ever since. Having lived in London for the better part of the last decade, she decided three years ago to launch her music into the public sphere under the name Aurora Harbinger. She soon played venues like Servant Jazz Quarters and The Victoria in Dalston, quickly building a loyal fan base that enabled her to successfully crowd fund her debut record. For Natalie, playing live is an important consideration in the songwriting process, a process which focuses centrally on generating atmosphere and intimacy. Her debut EP is her first proper recording and it was all recorded live at Wax Studios in London and produced by Robert Strauss. For Natalie, getting the EP right was dependent on how precisely she could evoke the feelings she had in mind. Though armed with encyclopaedic knowledge of narrative songwriters across the spectrum of folk, rock and jazz, Natalie brings to the table her own brand of atmospheric storytelling. It’s folky in its arrangements, but in terms of sheer vocal delivery she’s a soulful rock and roller, at times calling to mind the visceral and lurching tones of Patti Smith or Etta James. ‘Burning Pier’ may only be her first single, but already it reveals an artist in the classic sense: thoughtful, precise, and led by instinct and imagination.
‘Whirlwinds’ emerged out of a break-up song which I decided to go back and revisit once feelings had subsided. I liked the idea of looking back at something which had once felt raw but through time and disassociation I became an editor or an archeologist finding dinosaur bones and putting them back together; never knowing what it really was like when it was alive so it takes on it’s own new story. I also wanted to capture the anger and the crazy storm of heartbreak. The vocals swell into highs and lows like the motion of the howling wind. The song is a heavy blues jam and the most dramatic sounding song on the EP.
Tracklisting for ‘Dead Sea Scripts’ EP
Romantic Bullshit Blues