Tag Archives: Orchestral

Laurel – “To The Hills”

22 Mar


When we first encountered Laurel (many will have done so earlier) it was via her stunningly relaxed remix of Racing Glaciers rousing ”New Country”. At the time we said it dripped muted sounds into a black pool of languidity, because we like saying things like that. With her new release, “To The Hills”, though there is no black pool of languidity, there is no lost lagoon of sultry melody nor wondrous soundscapes of unicorns and fluffy clouds.

No, what this prodigiously talented young lady is giving us here is a grand cinematic swathe of romanticism and drama. The stirring orchestral arrangement gives “To The Hills” a gorgeously sinister edge, a sumptuous intensity that feels like it could unleash a darkness within your soul. A darkness that lurks undetected until freed by a horrific, neck piercing act* and that then becomes all consuming. Her voice is soft but powerful with moments of brief and enticing fragility woven within, conveying a fleeting feeling of remorse perhaps; a remembrance of a humanity lost.

But there is euphoria here as well as drama, a rush of excitement and adrenalin that has overwhelmed her. “Didn’t know that I could feel this great / Life’s to waste, higher higher, get, higher higher she sings, addicted to the rush. As are we, addicted to “Into The Hills”.

*ok, so basically we’re saying we think it’s about vampirism and the rush of the carnage, the bloodlust and the feeling of a supernatural closeness to nature and the world. We have our reasons for this half-baked theory, mostly from a too in depth consideration of the lyrics no doubt, but we like it and think it adds something else to the song. Even if we are probably wrong…

“To The Hills” is taken from Laurel’s EP of the same name which is due out on 7 April.

Stalk Laurel: Website / Facebook / Twitter

In Review: Kat Parsons – It Matters To Me EP

11 Apr

Kat Parsons EP

When she last featured in these digital pages, we noted how Kat Parsons“Love Changes Everything” could easily have come from Disney’s Enchanted. As we listen to her latest EP, It Matters To Me, we are struck by how apt that analogy actually is. Enraptured with the abundant joy of her previous song, we didn’t fully appreciate the flawless sound of her voice.

She sings with crystalline beauty, the kind of warm, clear grace that was favoured for Disney Princesses. Nowhere is this more evident than on emotive ballad, “I Won’t Ask” and EP closer, “One Day” which itself is reminiscent of, though not to be confused with, Snow White’s “Some Day My Prince Will Come”. She truly is the Julie Andrews of indie-pop.

The EP opens with “I’ll Be Here” which is the kind of radio-friendly pop ballad that each one of mainstream’s favourite pop starlets of the last few years would have given a year’s worth of fake tan for. She sings with mournful reminiscence of a love that no longer is, but that will not leave her. A love that waits within her, hoping that distance will once again be nothing and it can flourish again. It’s heartbreak hoping for the impossible, the lingering look, the faintest of straws that are clung to, waiting for a return that might never come.

This kind of emotional pull, this heart wrenching devotion is there throughout the EP, it is a record of orchestral vulnerability and it is gorgeous. “I Won’t Ask” is a lament for her attempts to love again, to move on but she can’t. On the country twinged “Harder Than It Is” she sings, perhaps to herself, about not being able to let go, to move on. Ultimately though, peace is found, her dedication to the past evolves into stoic defiance as “One Day” closes. Sense and understanding will come and she will love anew, true love will come. Her Prince Charming perhaps…

’It Matters To Me’ is out now and available to buy directly from Kat

Stalk Kat Parsons: Website / facebook / Twitter

‘B’ is for Rebecca Brandt

17 Jul

So far, across the various artists we have featured as Alphabet Bands, we have covered a number of different musical styles. There exists a common thread that runs through each one though, regardless of genre or aural predilection. That thread is one of undeniable talent and ability to make music that is really quite special. It runs through our latest member of the fabled Alphabet as well, as does our eclectic love of multiple genres.

We must confess, when New York-based composer Rebecca Brandt emailed a few months back to draw our attention to her debut album, Numbers & Shapes, her correspondence very nearly drowned in the swell of submissions we receive. The mail found its way back to the surface somehow, clinging to flotsam and jetsam until we retrieved it, dried it off and sat down to hear its tale. Since then her album of 14 original instrumental compositions has made itself at home on our stereo, delighting us time and again with soaring cinematic soundscapes, delicate piano melodies and percussion that will get under your skin.

That it seems cinematic in places is no accident. Brandt also writes and scores for film and multimedia projects from across the globe and there are a number of tracks that feel as though they should accompany a narrative. Be it at the ballet, theatre or cinema, her work has an unquestionable visual quality, regardless of the genre she has chosen to work in. For, while the pieces on offer have been orchestrated for over 30 instruments and Rebecca herself is a classically trained pianist, they do not exist exclusively within the realm of traditional classical music. Her influences are varied and wide-ranging and each track draws on different aspects. Jazz, electronica, rock, ambient, each feature to varying degrees and all play their part in the careful craftsmanship of a series of tracks, each one with a unique identity yet they feel as one with the other 13.

The individuality of the tracks could cause the album to take on the mannerisms of a rollercoaster ride, pitching and hurling the listener from style to style, purposefully dropping and swinging, making stomachs churn and head’s swim. Not so, the styles and sounds may vary to a degree but the turns are not violent, the drops are not dramatic and the listener is caressed, not hurled along.

It is easy to get lost in hyperbole when discussing an album such as this, and we are not exactly shy when it comes to hyperbole at the best of times, but it is also easy to get lost in the strings, in the intricate piano melodies, in the soft woodwind, in the vibrant rhythms and in the collective dreaminess that is Numbers & Shapes.

Stalk Rebecca Brandt
Bandcamp / Website / Facebook / Twitter