RONIA presents her second studio album with “STRING ALONG” (Seayou Records; 2023) – the Graz-born and neo-Viennese artist Sonja Klug follows on from her predecessor “WALTZ IN” in a coherent and convincing way, and not just in the choice of title. In her musical expression, RONIA also remains true to her melancholic, minimalist, dreamlike, dark style, but through the partial use of the ukulele, strings, wind instruments and banjo, she expands the range of instruments in a targeted and always useful way.
The self-taught artist designs compositionally Ronia On “string along” there is an overall musical concept and mood that is noticeably influenced by the soundtrack of classic fairy tale films. The themes that are dealt with are already reflected in the choice of the album title Ronia The content and music of their songs are (in)clear – so “string along” can be translated as “following someone”, but also as “holding someone back” or “deceiving”. One might think Ronia Already in the title, she asks her listeners to follow her into her shadowy and shadowy (dream) world of deceptions, ambiguities, fuzziness, the blurriness of being. Or to escape there with her?
the dream as a refuge from (inter)human reality with all its trials and tribulations
Because there is no doubt that the dream serves as a refuge from (inter)human reality with all its trials and tribulations Ronia represents a central theme. For them, the waking state is often characterized by despair, sadness, pain and loneliness. The alternation between dream and reality, combined with a film musical component, inevitably makes one think of a quote from The Matrix: “Have you ever had a dream that seemed completely real? What if you never wake up from this dream… How would you know what is dream and what is reality?“
What is dream? And what reality? Musically it settles down Ronia so, embedded in a dark, nebulous cloud of various reverb and delay effects, through wide, floating synthesizer and vocal surfaces – only broken up by individual strings – separated (“Savages”). The acoustic, electric guitar and piano licks always remain just as minimalist as the use of noise elements, drums, bells and brass. Everything somehow floats at the same time, the changing panorama is often just as nebulous as the scenarios and states of being that surround us Ronia presents. One of them is about sailing into the distance, about sadness, about being abandoned, but also about the emerging hopeful feeling of something bright and new (“Sailing”). As open as every ending leaves Ronia the listeners are reduced to nothingness accompanied by the wave noise fade-out. And the repeated in the lyrics at the end of the song “nothing“ stands symbolically for the overall conceptual whole by bringing to mind the last word from Schopenhauer’s work “The World as Will and Representation” – nothing.
a profound, picturesque, cloudy musical landscape of the soul, as you might know from the nightly, wet and deserted streets of Vienna
Thematic analogies from music, film and literature – not all dreams are the same, a dream within a dream and dreaming about dreams is also possible – are also reflected in “Oh You and Me”. The Schophenhauer-like, gloomy, defeatist and dark basic mood is retained in pieces like “Come and Guide Me”, “Really Me” and “Metaphors”, and run through the entire album like a faded blue thread somewhere in the distant spray disappears.
So delivers Ronia With “String Along” a profound, picturesque, cloudy musical landscape of the soul, as you might know from the nightly, wet and deserted alleys of Vienna. A listening recommendation, not just for nights when you can hear Mr. Tambourine Man singing from a distance: “Getting up is difficult, but going to sleep is even harder“.