The NBT Review 91

another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

Lenelle Moïse Presents The Expatriate Amplification Project (featuring Karla Mosley)

Nothing excites me more than brave projects in music. I live for the discovery of something refreshingly different. In the case of the Expatriate Amplification Project, brought to life by Lenelle Moïse, the experience is rewarding not just because the project is creatively brave, but also because the execution and talent is audible in every breath.

This album consists in its entirety of vocals, with two loop machines allowing for breaths, squeaks, trills and plosives to create a backdrop for Lenelle Moïse and Karla Mosley’s breathtaking vocals. Other reviewers have commented on the contrast between Moïse’s contralto and Mosley’s soprano and I’m sure the reader will have read those, but bear with me as I wax lyrical about this combination.

As everyone knows by now I am a lover of great voices and great vocal performances. It should therefore be no surprise that I would love an album such as this. Moïse brings all the jazz, all the serious, all the heart and soul that is music and pours it over this album like molten honey. Mosley adds to this the passion, the fervour, the ambition the angels. When these two combine, as on the Body Part Song it lifts the listener as much as an Andreas Scholl Agnes Dei and perhaps more, because inside of Expatriate is more than training and perfection, there is life, lessons and a search for personal liberation.

So it is serious stuff, and the lyrics bear this out, with Motherland a lament for places left behind or places adopted, Baby Powder bringing us into the horror of social deprivation, Aliens taking us through disenfranchisement into the possibilities inherent in everyone. And it is this turnabout, this hope that is apparent in every song (no matter the bleakness of the landscape) that made this more than simply a glorious vocal album. If I had to sum it up with one word it would be “honest” and in today’s world I think that’s high praise.

This is interesting, rewarding, thought-provoking, beautiful and pure. It is not a flawless album, but its flaws are  relevant to the experience, if anything the flaws are necessary.

On “The Makings” Moïse writes and Mosley sings “I got the makings of a great jazz singer”, and listening to both performers on this album, I can only concur.

Discover more:

http://www.lenellemoise.com/

You can hear tracks from this album on the NBT podcast of the 16th Sept and beyond

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

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The NBT Review 79

Chocolate Paper Suites – Krista Detor (Tightrope Records)

It was tempting to get all theoretical on your ass for this, to pull out my battered vinyl copy of Dylan Thomas reading a Child’s Christmas In Wales and Do Not Go gentle.. Or mull over again the mystery and sadness of how politics killed a Poet close to a Fountain of Tears, but I am, like most good listeners that will hear this collection, simply just an intelligent savage, and it is what the music and the words give to me that is important, not the brilliant inspiration for their creation.

I noted too, that the fact that these songs are animated by Lorca, Thomas and Darwin amongst others is only mentioned in the various press releases and not on the album itself. So as they say wherever good music is on trial ‘let the songs speak for themselves’

The first suite ‘Oranges Fall Like Rain’ pushes open sudden storm like, questions shudder against descriptions and the lonely brooding strings blow and wrap around the vocals ever surging forward.

The singer, the storyteller has a gift for noticing the small things, the colour of things, making these scenes live vibrant. The suite continues with dreamy piano, creating an underwater tension, the story (not the song) speeds up, the colours agitated now, there is a riot of the senses going on and it is beautiful, intensified in the third section as the singer drifts from distant to harmonic intimate.

The ‘Night Light’ begins with a slow dancing to wounded genius jazz, there is Love here, unfiltered, unashamed of how frail it may be,  this is how the world listens, that world above your rooftop, that world beyond your fence.

From this the focus shifts subtly, the warmth is gently danced away and the moon, slightly cold but swinging sweetly sets the singer apart from her previous affection. We are now there in black and pinpoint white star night, alluring sure, the now of the Dazzling has changed for the thoughtfulness of tomorrow and what it may bring.

The Bass burps into the third suite the ‘Madness Of Love’ these are hours made giddy with coffee, cigarettes and dangerous emotional chemicals, the journey here is from crush to anger (held in) to contempt and finally stopping at a weary kind of regret. Perhaps this singer knows the one deep truth, that try as we might, these journeys will take place within our life, again and again.

The fourth suite is perhaps my favourite ‘cause I too have played that dream game of wishing to have more time or replay time to want to rewrite a history of a love affair, the way I do a piece of fiction, in fact what good listener hasn’t? But the singer here doesn’t stop with this, she shifts her attention to a conversation between two souls who know or at least can guess (pretty damn well) each others moods and thoughts. Intricate love songs if you will. This is ‘By Any Other Name’

The bonus suite  ‘Darwin Song House’  (including an absolutely stunning live rendition of ‘Clock Of The World’ with guest vocals by Karine Polwart, Emily Smith and Rachael Mcshane) cleverly captures the emotions , fears and admiration of both Darwin’s detractors and those who found comfort in his beliefs. The singer ends the album with a Lullabye, a wife telling a loved one to forget the battle for now and let the profound pure love of a father for his daughter take over.

This album is inspiring, human, and full of wonder. One of the best sets of the year.

http://www.kristadetor.com

Catch Tunes from the Album on the NBT podcast going out on the 22nd July 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/