(30 December 2007) Singer songwriter musician graphic artist painter. Astrid Chevallier is indeed a multi-dimensional artist. As a musician, she started playing flute and studying classical music at the age of six. She has been performing solo and with ensemble for twelve years. Life took her from home country France to Austria, where she graduated with a mention "excellent" in both Music and Visual Art classes. Astrid relocated to Paris to attend Fine Art Schools, and to take singing and guitar classes. She led rock blues music jam cessions with fellow art students, and performs as the lead singer of a local punk band. Her debut album, So Far My Love (Astrid Chevallier (USA) 837101197786, 2006) is an eclectic collecation of fourteen experimental-, ambient- and pop-style tracks.
Astrid is credited with writing, recording and production as well as performing all instruments and providing all of the vocal work on the album. She is assisted on one track by Kamil Rustam (lead guitar, production) and shares production credit with Santino on two other tracks. The music is lush with lead and bass guitar. Pop-oriented tracks have memorabe chorus segments while the others have that warm sensual overtones of Germany's Chandeen. There is a distinctly European sound to the album overall.
The eclectic combination of material on Astrid's album demonstrates the artist vast musical talent and the diversity provides tracks that will appeal to a broad range of audiences. Attention to detail in the production delivers a superb result. The punkier sounding tracks like "A Million Miles Away" and "Wake Up" demonstrate the power in Astrid's voice as well as her well-honed guitar chops at the same time. Listeners will be especially intrigued by the effective blend of styles within theses tracks.
The ambient orientation of several of the album's selections, specifically the brief opening "Reverse" but notably the rhythmic "We're Gonna Dance" and the standout track "The World" are especially accessible and will draw comparisons by many listeners to Chandeen, one of our editorial staff's favorite European bands. The punky pop track "Suitcase" is certainly another standout, rich guitar (yes, listen for the riffs all the way through the song) and keyboard arrangements supporting layers of Astrid's almost spoken but sung crystalline vocals.
The memorable choruses within the upbeat new wave pop track "I Will Wait" is especially illustrative of Astrid's ability to experiment while not drifting too far from the accessible. The dance rhythm and layers of crystalline vocals in "Running Away" also combine for a stunning and memorable number.
Experimental material requires great courage to write and to record, especially on a debut album. "After Cirque" is one of the several experimental tracks on the album with pulsing percussion and strings underscoring layers of harmony vocals. Mental images will be drawn to after Cirque du Soleil for listeners familiar with their performances whether intended by Astrid or not. The artist's interests emerge in the sound effects of "Bug" and incantations in "Pluie," both highly experimental numbers that will delight listeners some but not others.
Clearly Astrid Chevallier is a a very talented multi-dimensional musical artist. While not all of the tracks on this album are going to appeal to every listener, there are enough songs to draw interest from a broad range of enthusiasts. The ambient- and pop-oriented tracks drew most attention from the editorial staff here. Astrid is equally talented and interesting artist onstage; see the numerous video recordings of Astrid's live performances at her website. So Far My Love is currently available at CDBaby.