Rebecca Larsdotter occupies a zone roughly at a mid-point between Sade and Annette Peacock, and Feathers & Concrete is a disc that will take a bit of ear adjustment because it's atypical while quite familiar. Larsdotter exercised adept judgement in choosing her size-shifting band (nine involved in all), especially guitarist Charles Altura, some of whose infrequent lead lines can be breathtaking. Sax player Zane Musa is a cross between George Howard and John Klemmer, and the rest of the guys are fusiony while quite knowledgeable of trad structures and at home in either a laid back element, an upbeat prance, or abstract asides.
Ruslan Sirota and Vardan Ovsepian provide colorative keyboards throughout and establish the band's baseline, upon which Larsdotter works with a fresh, firm, clear sonority that does not favor Sade (the band takes care of that particular vibe and a lot more besides) but is closer to Peacock while often more perky or wistful yet sometimes Bjork-ish in quirky timbres and edges. Like the still underlauded Annette, though, she does not like to be predictable and many cuts exhibit a good deal of innovation as her voice larks and skips along, then melismatizes into the changing atmospherics. Jump back to the days of Turning Point and the early fusion and prog-fusion bands (don't leave out Robert Wyatt!), and you'll have a clue. Then bound forward to Joni Mitchell, Hubert Eaves, maybe a touch of Passport, etc.
I do have a complaint, however: some songs end unsettlingly, like the abrupt cut-off to System Overload, the first cut, and the bad fade terminating Wise One, the second. The curiously unnamed producer would have to take the fall for these indiscretions, and they do a disservice to Landsdotter's work, but those offenses fade to negligibilty in the face of the CD's unorthodox achitectures, and I'm warning listeners, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, that it will probably take a listen or two to fully embrace Feathers & Concrete, but, man, is the acclimatization process ever worth it (and some will take to the CD on the first bounce)!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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