Giovanca Ostiana was quite clear that in this third release on Dox Records she "wanted cosmic vibes" and that's just what she got…well mixed with funk, jazz, soul, and quite chart-able materials. The art direction for this extremely well executed visual package (Judith Veendenvaal and Aisha Zeijpveid, the pair responsible) harks back to many forerunners: Stevie Wonder's Innervisions period, Labelle, the Pointer Sisters—heck, even Cher!—but her voice runs more to what was heard from Rotary Connection's still much idolized, and rightly so, Minnie Ripperton in a highly melodic context. The music aspect combines Lonnie Liston Smith with Hiroshima with Sade with Earth, Wind and Fire with Commodores and much more…yea, I say unto thee, even unto those killer Cecil & Margouleff touches in Stevie's epic 70s trio of releases. That alone should alert FAME readers that something unique is afoot.
Even the more fully balladic numbers, such as Real, carry a stripped-down lushness (keyboardist Brandon Coleman contributes heavily to the entire sound throughout the release, crafting enviable atmospherics) that enfolds the listener in a sensual side world, but there are quite energetic numbers as well, Bad Wishes one of them, so imbued with a rondo of repeatingly vivid thematics that you don't know whether to get up and dance or just shout. A great engineering job by several at E-Sound and other locations in Holland embedded all the various layers and complexities into a fully integrated sound that can only be called 'space age'…but with an Apollo Theater / Afro-Cubano backbeat. Uphill is the kind of sweetly flowing sparky mellifluity you absolutely want to hear on the radio, a song to make you forget the workaday hassles, traffic jams, and general everyday nonsense as you cool out on the way home or maybe even while heading for a good party or to visit the lowering night and look at stars while tapping your toes. I Will Wait is more laid back but just as enchanting and yet another candidate for radio…which, if that damned device carried more music like this, I'd listen a heck of lot more than I do (which is almost never).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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