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Half Waif

Half Waif

In May 2022, Nandi Rose was up on the ridge-line in northeastern Wyoming. The landscape was a layer cake of strata, the colors of compressed geologic time. Rose was at an artist residency, grappling with loss, and looking for answers in the sagebrush. That winter, back home in the frosted farmland of upstate New York, her life had been riddled with blows as she faced losing a family member to illness and moved through a medical recovery of her own. Now, gazing out at the wide plains, she felt the beneficence of the passing of time. I’m not a failure, she thought. I’m an ephemeral being.

Recorded over the course of that winter and spring, the Ephemeral Being EP looks at the transience of life while celebrating the continuation of nature and its cycles. Across these five songs—the first offering in a larger body of work coming later this year from Half Waif—Rose finds comfort and hope in the natural world. On “Heartwood,” she casts herself as an ancient oak tree, while on “Dreaming of Bears,” inspired by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s ideas of continuation, she imagines a loved one’s smile enduring after death as the curve of a river bend. Lead single “Big Dipper” takes a dip into despair as she loses faith in the universe: “I cannot shake the feeling that there’s no one looking out.” But perhaps, she intimates in these invocations of nature, the divine lies elsewhere.

At turns fierce and delicate, awash in arrangements that boldly blend contemporary classical with indie rock and synth pop, the songs on the Ephemeral Being EP serve as a reminder of scale: that we are all ephemeral in the face of sandstone, sparrow, and ocean. That in times of feeling paralyzed by life’s disruptions—when our faith is shaken, and we are at our most desperate—nature offers us perspective. Life persists, Rose finds. Sometimes we just need a wider view.