Born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Zach Kleisinger cites Leonard Cohen, Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Van Morrison as being his formative influences. However, it’s fellow Canadian, Leonard Cohen, who is most in evidence with ‘Dance For a While‘, the second track released from his forthcoming debut album, ‘Their Symposium‘, following on from lead single ‘Nothing Special’.
Perhaps it’s inevitable in a time of such global weirdness, but earnest singer/songwriters are currently very far from being an endangered species. However, Kleisinger is certainly well equipped to thrive. His weathered, sombre baritone feels like it’s been lived in for a very long time, so it’s a surprise to learn that he’s still in his mid-twenties. Like Leonard Cohen, Klesinger has a masterful way with melancholy, and while he may lack Cohen’s sonorous bass, Kleisinger’s warm baritone can sit on the edge of fragility like the best of them.
Kleisinger’s other great strength is his songwriting and he’s able to cleverly use deceptively simple language to express complex emotions, often in very personal and intimate settings. ‘Dance For a While‘ neatly demonstrates his considerable abilities. Kleisinger describes it as a simple love song inspired by the recent engagement of two of his friends. “I wrote it from the perspective of the one kneeling and asking for their partner’s hand in marriage. The song imagines the whirlwind of emotions that may be passing through both their hearts.”
The animated video nicely matches the tone of the song. The stick figures set in a simple, abstract, paint-washed environment are elegantly animated. The colour palette and overall look is, at Kleisinger’s request, inspired by the work of renowned Chinese ink painter, Lui Shou-Kwan. The video was animated by Foreshadow Films, a Vancouver-based studio run as a collaboration by the four Affolter brothers. “We wanted to symbolically mirror life itself in all its chaotic, messy beauty.” Together, they’ve created a lovely piece of work and it’s sure to be picked up and feature on the animation festival circuit.
Looking at this release and Kleisinger’s previous singles and EP releases, it’s clear that he puts a huge amount of thought and effort into his work and it’s bearing results. With his eye for detail, it’s not at all surprising to find he’s assembled a talented but appropriately restrained band to support his songs. The album is produced by Cody Taylor and if ‘Dance For a While‘ is any indication, expect hear a lot more from Zach Kleisinger.