Toronto, ON-based Ink Sticks & Stones has unveiled the Vaste EP – a brief, yet intimate electro-ambient and contemporary classic five-piece suite that has been called both haunting and tranquil. The EP explores the introspective themes of nature—mainly the magnificence and stillness of the Boreal forests—and the experience of being lost in a world that doesn’t always represent you. This is, of course, true for visible minorities who have experienced microaggressions and racism based on their ethnicity.
As Ink Sticks & Stones, she wrote every track on Vaste with the thoughts of her childhood experiences in Northern Ontario’s forests near the township of Génier.
The music in Vaste is a paramount achievement for Ink Sticks & Stones for many reasons, the main one being that it is a sonic touchstone for where she hopes to return to as a musician. During the summer of 2019, she suffered a traumatic concussion that rendered her unable to play music. Luckily all of her musical parts on Vaste were recorded before the accident, but she wasn’t able to fully return to music until six months ago.
“I practice every day on the keyboard right next to my work desk,” she says. “It’s frustrating and a bit demoralizing. There are times when I’m scared I’ll never make it back to where I was, but I can’t let that dictate my life so I’m trying to stay optimistic.”
The lead single “Vaste V” has a foreboding quality to it, with its intro synthesizer, minor-keyed piano, and vibraphone. Soon they are met by the viola and cello and are greeted by an apprehensive erhu. The tone shifts focus as the wispy violin arrives, like the first sun rays at dawn. The track then explodes with the erhu “once the outsider, now being welcomed by the others, integrating itself into the song, but never assimilating.” It’s a track about woe, hope, and self-discovery.
“I am hoping that listeners will take this album as a chance to escape, to breathe, to self-reflect, and feel that despite what situation they might be in, there is a place for everyone.”
Check out the video for “Vaste V” below, and stay up to date with Ink Sticks & Stones via her socials.
I’m Jenna, the founder, and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be.