ARIA Award winner TASH SULTANA has today released their sophomore album, TERRA FIRMA, out now on Mom + Pop Music.
Having already given fans five tastes of the music one can expect on TERRA FIRMA (“Sweet & Dandy,” “Willow Tree” feat. Jerome Farah, “Greed,” “Beyond The Pine” and “Pretty Lady”), the album showcases 14 tracks that are recognisably TASH SULTANA, but its lyricism delves deeper, its impact more nuanced. The expansive “Coma” flows with vision, the evocative “Greed” proffers a soul-funk examination of the corrupting influence of wealth and fame. And the idyllic love song “Let The Light In” feels close and warm--“I've just found my one. She's a golden gem,” they smile when they speak of their fiancé. “Sweet & Dandy” is a slinky indictment on the internet era’s information overload. “But where’s the wisdom? Where’s the knowledge?” TASH asks. “Vanilla Honey”--named after the two flavoured cigars gifted to TASH from their partner--is a tender ode to how love can centre us amidst the chaos.
TERRA FIRMA sees TASH bare their soul on two levels. Spiritually, it arrived in a time of global detachment and acted as a conduit to reconnect to their core selves--something TASH had been dismissing during strenuous global tours. And musically, where its 14 tracks take root into far-reaching sonic territory.
TASH has added to the looped and layered jams with a dazzling patchwork of soul, funk, R&B, folk, rock, hip-hop--you name it. The result is TASH’s most ambitious triumph to date. “It’s Erykah Badu meets Bon Iver, meets John Mayer, meets whatever.”
Written and recorded over a full year, from October 2019 to October 2020, TERRA FIRMA saw TASH in full flight as they recorded, engineered, performed, arranged, and produced the album themselves. Four to six days a week were spent in their Melbourne studio, and just when TASH surpassed the 200-day mark on the project, it was done.
Presented with a title inspired by finding their home within themselves, TERRA FIRMA is the work of a more confident, dynamic, and experienced musician. The record was conceived amid a period of self-reflection when life was involuntarily slowed down amid a global pandemic. When TASH wasn’t in the studio, they found time for surfing, gardening, writing poetry and a healthy balance from the hectic touring lifestyle that defined their existence.
While TERRA FIRMA still cements the oft-used description of a “one-person band”, the record hosts a first for TASH SULTANA with four carefully chosen co-writers. TASH collaborated with fellow ARIA winners in artist Matt Corby and producer Dann Hume (Courtney Barnett, Amy Shark) on “Pretty Lady,” “Crop Circles,” “Beyond the Pine” and “Greed.” Meanwhile, “Willow Tree,” the nocturnal groover about get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, features TASH’s high school friend Jerome Farah. Farah is signed to TASH’s own Lonely Lands Agency, launched in 2019. Finally, “Dream My Life Away,” an ethereal, guitar-driven duet, was co-written with close friend Josh Cashman, who TASH tapped as their tour support through America in 2017.
For TASH SULTANA, artistic growth is paramount. It makes sense then, that the live shows for TERRA FIRMA will showcase TASH in a new light. “2020 was about recording and writing the music. And this year will be about creating the show and bringing it to people,” says TASH. “The new live show is everything the live show already was, plus a few things up my sleeve--but you’ll have to be there to understand,” they tease.
“I'll always be solo,” TASH adds. “That will never, ever, ever change."
For TERRA FIRMA, the goal seemed simple: to make music that comes from a place that’s unashamedly honest and ventures new territory. “Because if it does, you’ll never fuck up,” TASH reflects. “I want to be an artist and make music non-stop, and just set the bar for myself every single time.… I just wanted to feel better, be better, perform better, play better, sing better. To be a better musician. And I think this record does that.”