@@@ Hinako Omori: A Journey (Houndstooth, 2022) I’m a bit surprised and entertained to see that this record has been labelled as easy listening in Apple Music. I’m starting at the beginning of the record and it appears to be a mostly electronic record. The first track here, Spaceship Lament, is a meteor show of big synth notes diving and rising across the stereo field. And now a low arpeggiator. The second tune, A Journey, does indeed kick up the New Age spiritual vibes with a friendly and active arpeggiator, some whoo hoo whisper-y female vocals and then a pitch shifted down Lord of the Rings intoning voice. My problem with what I’ve heard thus far is the lack of contrast. I don’t mind soft, comforting sounds but I find them more compelling when they are presented with other harder sounds — that deepens the listening experience for me and creates tension. This is too far towards baby food for my liking.
@@@ Jensen McRae: Machines (Human Re Sources, 2022) The video below is the 10th song on a contemporary folk record. It opens with a cassette opening and closing before the bedroom mid lo fi sound comes in. The lyrics (at least the first verse) are a bit on the surreal side but the most notable component is McRae’s badass voice. The melodies here are not Joni Mitchell complex but she handles what she has here pretty effortlessly. As for the strummed acoustic guitar, it’s a strummed acoustic guitar hence the focus on the voice. It pushes the needle for drama, but hey if people dig it and it’s presented as tastefully as possible. There are some string arrangements that do their thing in the background and I don’t need them but as we’ve already said, drama. We get a big round of whoa hos starting around 45 seconds from the end and that’s the show. I’m giving the second tune, Happy Girl (tune 2) and I dig the bedroom sad ballad more as this has a drummer which gives it a more coffee shop folk feeling. Not a big coffee shop folk kinda guy here.