Hector Zazou — Sonora Portraits 2: Strong Currents
(Materiali Sonori MASO-90134, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01Zazou has been a prominent producer and instigator of musical projects for many years, having worked with a wide variety of artists. On this collection, we get collaborations with various female vocalists from different nations and backgrounds, all presented in Zazou’s detailed electro-acoustic soundscapes. The brief opening track featuring Laurie Anderson’s spoken delivery sets the tone, kind of quietly artistic in a thoughtful rather than energetic way. Melanie Gabriel, Jane Birkin, Lori Carson, Emma Stow, Nina Hynes, Caroline Lavelle, Sarah-Jane Morris, Catherine Russel, Lisa Germano, Nicola Hitchcock, and Irene Grandi lend their voices to the following tracks, along with a reappearance by Laurie Anderson. In addition to electronic sounds, orchestral instruments add subtle counterpoint to the singing, with oboe, bassoon, trumpet, flute and clarinet all getting moments to shine. Most of the singers tend toward breathy timbres, as befits the gauzy mood, with delicate beauty taking a front seat and leaving any sort of blatant emotion in the back seat, if not the trunk.
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