Singer Nicki Schrire continues to impress with her tackling of ordinary, you might even say plainsong (if you're hip to that the term really means and how it metaphorizes into popular modes), music modes rendered unique through subtle jazz applications, a meeting ground for rock, folk, trad, and mellifluous strains so well prepared that the result is often almost chamber music, as Your Love especially demonstrates. In it, Fabian Almazan's pianistics and Schrire's vocal's (and simulsynched chorus work) wrap around each other in complex pastoral lines, then Almazan takes a completely unexpected left turn into pure jazz, ringing out a solo that dazzles before settling back into the more sedate main melody…at which point Schrire takes off for the sky just like Fabian before her. In To the Spring, a lot more Björk and Janis Ian well up to lock hands with the Tori Amos sophistications we've been used to in Schrire's past releases.
If, like me, you're into a very wide swath of musics, you're going to find much in common here with Talk Talk's very last release, Spirit of Eden, and David Sylvian's work as well, not quite for the modes those lads practice(d) so much as the artful sophistications employed, serious efforts to bring popular music into the dimension of pure aesthetics. The lengthy title song is the most affecting exemplar here of that, and one understands from it that trio mode was the wisest choice for the release. Desmond White, on contrabass, is the only rhythm section, stalwartly painting the backgrounds in delicate colors as Schrire and Almazan engage in non-stop highly creative recitation and variation, and there's no category for this sort of music. Try as you might, you'll never be able to tell a friend exactly what's going on in the disc…which is good: make 'em listen instead.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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