Can music make you feel less alone? Can it foster intimacy from afar? In his stark songs, which are like sonic poems, the Canadian artist Devon Welsh has mined such questions with rigor, vulnerability, and grace. From 2010 to present, his body of work has pushed language to the fore in service of closing the space between artist and listener, prizing human connection above all.
With his duo Majical Cloudz, Welsh found a huge audience for that vision: he released two critically-acclaimed LPs with Matador Records, and went from DIY house-show tours to playing arenas with Lorde. Moreover, Welsh created life-affirming moments: on-stage, he looked people in the eye—blurring the line between music and performance art—and could bewilder listeners or make them cry. But after disbanding Majical Cloudz in 2016, Welsh retreated to take stock of his purpose as an artist. He shifted his relationship with music. His solo album, Dream Songs, arrived in 2018, rescaling the pulsing heart of his work with arresting orchestral arrangements.
In the wake of Dream Songs, Welsh has taken stock once again. Leaving his longtime home of Montreal, the Ontario-born artist moved to rural Wisconsin to recalibrate still. Recording in a basement studio and embracing a quieter, simpler life, he worked on his emotional health through meditation and therapy. His newest music is in ways a product of those introspective focuses.