H.PRUZ

again, there is the stunning debut EP by Brooklyn singer-songwriter h. pruz (full name Hannah Pruzinsky). It’s a quiet, powerful record, leaving its mark not with force but with gentle turns of melody and cutting lyrics delivered softly, easily. It’s a front porch with wind chimes sounding; it’s a nap on the couch on a summer afternoon; it’s a pair of dirty hands in compost, letting dead things turn into something richer, kinder. It’s fuzzy memories overlaid on each other to form the present.

The songs took shape as Pruzinsky spent time away from their home city in more rural settings — spending time in the Carolinas, visiting her Pennsylvania hometown, hiking excursions upstate. Oftentimes their voice barely breaks a whisper, as if deferring to the quiet of the trees. Though the EP was recorded in their New York apartment, while working as a medical practitioner in two Brooklyn ERs during a pandemic, the country had sunk into the songs. References to forest-bathing and hiking, to rough back roads and gravel, to meadows and hills, are peppered into their lyrics.

She recorded remotely with Asheville-based multi-hyphenate Colin Miller (MJ Lenderman, Wednesday), exchanging demos recorded in bedrooms and closets. The sonics are intimate, down to the sounds of lips parting and pick scraping string. Though they couldn’t physically work together, the two found themselves intuitively, almost psychically tuned in to the emotion and truth at the core of the songs.

“The first notes of the guitar and her voice took me somewhere else. It held onto me. I remember saying “damn” quietly to myself…” says Miller. “In producing these songs I’d often times record with the microphones gained up high so they were sensitive to everything in the room and that I had to play quietly to not overload them. I used a lot of classic southern Appalachian instruments and sounds that I equate with feeling at home to me.”

As Pruzinsky wrote, often without even planning lyrics until she began playing, she noticed cycles and tides; of relationships, of the self, and of time and place. They were coming to terms with their queerness, while getting to know old friendships in the context of their changing, blooming identity. They were growing closer to some people, and apart from others; getting to know themself, while learning they didn’t know much for certain at all. She combed through memories, finding and bathing in the common threads.

“Each time you come back to certain themes or repetitions, you’re there again, but there’s some sort of really beautiful growth and change and renewing that happens each time,” she says. “These songs have been a practice in letting go and observing — something that is very hard for me to do,” continues Pruzinsky. “And now, it’s time to move forward and tear myself away from this repetitive cycle. Instead of just wandering now, I feel like I’m more at a crossroads, and it’s time to choose what side to take and where to go next.”


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H.Pruz1_byFelixWalworth

IMAGES: To download, click above. Photo credit to Felix Walworth.

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