A Sense of Place: Losing the Sea by Karen Vogt

Musician & vocalist Karen Vogt says that her new album is “about longing for the sea after spending many years living inland”. The inland location she refers to is Paris, her home for the past 15 years and half a world away from her native Australia where the sea was always in close proximity to the places she lived. But as anyone who has bonded with the sea knows, it will not let itself be forgotten. As someone who lives several hours away from the Atlantic Ocean but has not stood on its shores since the pandemic started, I can relate to the pangs of separation and vague sense of loss that bubble up just thinking about its serene power and soul-cleansing beauty.

Being the artist that she is, Karen found a way to process this experience through her music. Losing the Sea comprises six ambient odes she created from a collection of guitar vignettes originally written with the sea in mind.

Each time I go for a trip to the ocean, I want to stay there. I want to sit on the shore and watch the water, the waves and the sky. I really miss it and especially to be able to think things through as I walk along the shore. There is a stirring, a cleansing and an emotional response I feel very strongly when I am there that is almost impossible to recreate anywhere else.

It is one thing to think upon the sea and quite another to conjure the majesty and mystery of it and to convey the overwhelming feelings of being in its thrall, but Vogt manages to achieve this by weaving those guitar vignettes into a gorgeous undulating web and fleshing them out with new vocals fraught with a palpable sense of longing. The extra guitar parts and field recordings contributed by friend and fellow musician Guillaume Eymenier on two of the tracks add a crowning touch to this veritable siren call to the distant shores of memory.

Links: Bandcamp | Karen Vogt | Mare Nostrum

Losing the Sea is now available as a digital release from Mare Nostrum with cover photo & art direction by Anne Jabaud.