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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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The Musician CD Cover
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 come.--Evelyn Downing

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