Image © Grizelda Records 2000
(11 July 2003)
From the opening few bars of sparse piano and voice it is obvious
that Jennifer Terran has created an album of refreshing honesty
and emotional quality. Terran's clear voice blends perfectly
with the simple piano and string arrangements throughout this
record. Comparisons with Tori Amos seem unavoidable as both
have their own very distinct piano based writing and vocal
style. Even without the richness of Tori’s voice Terran shows
an incredible depth and range together with a terrific aptitude
for shimmering harmony lines on tracks such as "The Painter,"
"Unconditional Love" and "Magdeline Try," which is an outstanding
final track before Terran's spoken close to the album.
Terran's songs range from the very personal to the self aware,
while songs such as "This Recording" and "Mad Magdaline" encourage
the listener to think about the music industry.
The flow of songs is frequently interupted by Terran speaking and
nowhere is this more effective that in the inbetween song that
serves as an intro to "Mad Magdeline." Spoken and sung lines
blend together to evoke the true madness of the situation where
the industry picks and chooses and shapes artists, crushing the
real talent dispite not being able to exist without the musician.
Hearing Terran speak, describing how to avoid 'the inbetween song'
and how she uses her microphones for example, draws the listener
into the music, it becomes 'an exchange' (Terran's description).
This can be disconcerting, giving the album a very different feel,
even if they invariably lead smoothly into the songs.
The instrumentation stays similar throughout, varied by Terran's
clever piano work but it is a relief to hear the change to a
guitar base in "Emotional Laxative" and the voice and percussion
working so well together in "Sticky Sweet," this last being an
excellent example of the way in which Terran allows the listener
to hear the bones of her work. The voices in the background of
the track put it into a very real environment - there is none of
the sterile atmosphere that we hear so often in the manufactured
pop industry of today. This record manages to simultaneously avoid
all the pitfalls of the modern manufactured artist while remaining
commercial in its own way. Jennifer Terran has written, produced,
engineered, arranged, mixed, mastered and released independantly
an outstanding album that I know I will be playing for years to
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