(12 June 2011) In 2007 Musical Discoveries began a now long-standing relationship with Israeli singer-songwriter Yael Akron in 2007. With Manga, she completed the self-produced album Vacuum (review). In the run up to a venue change to the USA or Canada, the band's lineup changed. Align's Demo EP (review) was released before the artist's move.
Yael and two band members of Align ventured to Canada and settled into the Vancouver music scene. One year on, Yael began working exclusively on developing her solo career. Says Yael, "Pomme is the fruit of passion, curiosity and exploration. Between Toronto, Vancouver and Tel Aviv, I worked with Producer Shai C Sivan, and film composer Adrian Ellis to craft and release this self-titled EP."
Akron's melodic alternative ballads take an interesting twist, supported by Sivan's urban-cold, somewhat-industrial production. "New Frontiers" and "Silver Lining" are joined by Ellis's cinematic 3D instrumentations. Upon settling in Vancouver, Akron started playing with Vancouver based musicians: Ryan Drolet (guitars), JJ Wragler (keyboards) and Dimi Karabov (drums). The team have transformed the studio version of Pomme into a live and kicking act that has drawn a lot of attention by the local scene.
Interaction with new musicians takes the project to many interesting places, with more new songs coming in and the input of each member. Live Pomme comes out more rough, loud and dirty as a live set should. Says Yael, "We try to keep the electronic side of the EP with JJ's progs and sounds while Ryan's guitars and Dimi's drums turn cold electronic songs such as "Give You No Choice," for example, into a hard rock song."
The Pomme EP opens with Akron's evocative vocal strains atop gentle piano before the guitar accompaniment joins the mix. Yael's crystalline vocal strength is evident from her ability to deliver the lyrical message melodically without even a hint of multitracking. The additional artists complement with powerful instrumental parts that contrast the tender vocal work. "Silverlining" continues to develop with a similar thread that combines gentle ballad passages with others that combine robust percussion, keygoard and guitar to develop a lush rock sound. Yael's vocal work has developed tremendously and the recording's production has placed her right up there, showcasing her at the front of the mix. Listeners will adore the contrasts within this track. The EP's middle track is "On The Surface" which joins jazz elements with thick rocking guitars. Clearly the Pomme EP is an recording of contrasts.
We asked Yael about contributions to the new recording. She told us, "It is really important to me to credit Adrian for his beautiful work on "New Frontiers" and "Silverlining." She continued, "I met Adrien in Toronto and the chemistry was immediate. He is a smart musician, multi-instrumentalist, and a superb film composer and I found his work so versatile." When asked about their work on the two tracks, she said, "We started working on the two songs at his home studio in Toronto and continued working long distance when I moved to Vancouver."
Yael told us, "I would really like to credit Shai for just about everything, production, progs, mixes, mastering, sweat and blood. The idea started from our cross-Atlantic passion as old friends and fellow musicians who love working together. He spent endless hours at his studio in Tel Aviv, then in Vancouver and back. He is an amazing mix artist as well as producer."
We also asked her about who else played on the album. She told us, "As far as playing, two more musicians contributed to the album besides multi-instrumentalists Adrian and Shai. First, Mark-Mor Sivan (Shai's twin brother) did the guitars for "On the Surface" and "You Want It." Former Manga member and old friend Sharon Petrover recorded the drums for "Silverlining."
We asked Yael how this was accomplished and she told us, "It was very challenging, sending midi files to people and the project is indeed a trans-atlantic labour of love. I am really lucky to have worked with all these talented people and really feel without them it simply wouldn't have been." Pomme declares influences to be Bjork, Zero Seven, Thom Yorke, Muse; trained listeners will still hear Evanescence.
The track "I'll Give You No Choice" continues to illustrate Yael's personal virtuousity and that of her band. Her vocal work powerfully carries the melody and soars over electronic arrangements and percussive textures. Like most of Akron's numbers on this release, the track alternates between passages that build tension and those that release it. In contrast, "I'll Give You No Choice" features Yael's voice in the most stripped back arrangement of the EP. The EP concludes with the downbeat "New Frontiers." Thick bass is evident across the track amidst dense arrangements that never drown the singer's powerful vocal work. Short instrumental solos demonstrate talents of the Pomme lineup. The choruses are amazing.
The tracks from the PommeEP are available digitially at this time from the project's BandCamp page. These tracks can also be heard on their MySpace and ReverbNation pages. The band plan to tour around Vancouver this summer. Pick up the EP at one of their shows. Return to Musical Discoveries for further information on Pomme.