Derek Ted is a folk musician from San Francisco. He spends some of his time fronting folk rock band Owl Paws, but today we’re going to be talking about his new solo album, wilted in summer.
The album opens with ‘acting right’, a lo-fi folk song set in what seems like the aftermath of a relationship, the narrator admitting quite openly that he had a problem (“i couldn’t ever be the one to love you right”). ‘cascade spilling’ is warmer, fuelled by rekindled hope or denial, ‘murmured through the ages’ jaunty and strange, and ‘space cadet’ a gentle instrumental interlude dotted with field recordings. Following this is ‘all i have’, another angsty love song, lonely acceptance hanging over the track like a sea mist, cold and damp and quiet.
“it must be something
you didn’t say and you won’t explain now
it’s easier to run away
directionless, lost at sea
alone alone is where we must be”
From the short and subdued ‘white flower’ emerges ‘hill ridden skyline’, a track aching with loss like some dream dirge for a forgotten life, and ‘let go love’ is stranger still, passing further into the disorientating blend of love and suffering. ‘day dream’ finds the narrator halfway lucid, looking back at his words and questioning how much he believes what he has said. “i could never believe my own words,” he sings. “all apologies coerced /now I’m threading this guilt like silk / a hollow day dream / a dark night still”. Closer ‘poison poetry’ sums up the conflict at the heart of the record, a desire/need for another equalled by the conviction that moving on is the only solution. This leaves the narrator in a kind of lovesick limbo, wounded and confused, grasping for help in both directions but never quite reaching it.
“i cant go now
a day without your face
like an addict hides his ways i cant escape
the weight of the waves
turn away run towards the light
and off the map
we don’t fit don’t fight
and don’t come back
heart beat strong keep beating
heart beat strong keep bleeding”