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Photo: Ariana Molly
Photo: Ariana Molly

Child Actress Transcends to the Otherworld in Ancestor Worship

Rena Kozak’s mind-bending sophomore album crafts a supernatural soundscape full of grief, belonging, and musical introspection.

by Gaby Harrie

Having spent 22 years working as a producer and live sound engineer, Calgary-born Rena Kozak is not only the powerhouse behind Child Actress, but an experienced veteran in the music industry as well. An expert at musical introspection, Kozak started making her own music to process grief and find her place in the world after the unexpected passing of her partner Chris Reimer in 2012; an event that profoundly changed the course of her life, leaving an indelible mark on her creative process. Now, Kozak triumphantly returns with her second album, Ancestor Worship through the brand-new Calgary-based label, Red Spade Records. 

Through immersive production techniques, Kozak and her assistant producer, Scott (Monty) Munro of Preoccupations, have crafted a supernatural soundscape. In this record, Child Actress expands upon the gritty, paced-up sound of 2017’s Milking a Dead Cow, now confidently leaning all the way in with more methodical infusions of nostalgic goth rock flourishes, reverberating synths and hypnotic melodies. Weaving together the influences of Kate Bush, Sparks and The Cure, Ancestor Worship finds Kozak’s silky, echoing vocals spouting existential poetry over the thundering of rock drums and thick leading basslines. While the album offers plenty of irresistibly head-bobbing post-punk bangers, it also strikes a balance by including more pensive, glossy tracks like “No Wifi” and “Always Moving,” which ruminate on modern communication over optimistic string arrangements. The syrupy brass solos on “Beloved” and “Human Need” also serve to smooth the edges, bringing their respective tracks a grounding dose of soul.

Follow Child Actress into a smoke-filled reality of her own imagining, which, epic and swirling as it may be, may not be so different from the reality we all live in. Get lost in trance-inducing choruses as this seasoned songstress invites you to examine your own feelings of grief and belonging.