Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where are you from-- or, better yet, where are your parents from?

I've been meaning to write a review of this record since I heard it a week ago, but I've been a little bit preoccupied with schoolwork and the like. Alors, here we go!

I found this record, Contraries by Joanna Chapman-Smith, on the new arrivals shelf in the CHMA booth. I could swear it was almost tailor-made for me. If you know me at all, you know that my three favourite instruments are the synthesizer, the accordion, and the clarinet. Now, it's true, there's no synthesizer on Contraries, but Joanna's instruments of choice are in fact the accordion and the clarinet. The girl hails from Vancouver, educated extensively in music and with oodles of experience from all I can tell.

Her voice reminds me a little bit of Sarah Slean. You can hear the latin and jazz influences clearly, and it's an altogether beautiful find. I've mentioned my random record-listening sometimes turns up gold; this is one of those bits of gold that turns up. The highlight of the record for me I played on my show last night: Arbitrary Lines. A friend of mine said, when I played it, that it reminded her of gypsy jazz. I can hear that, especially in the guitar work. This is truly the work of someone who knows music inside and out, and I'm going to call myself a good fan.

It's very jazzy, more often than not, but not straight jazz. Think of what Regina Spektor does to jazz, and throw in some Sarah Slean. And an accordion. And a clarinet. And Vancouver--for we all know Vancouver breeds some unique musical styles. There's another remembrance that I can't quite pinpoint that this elicits in me. Tailor-made for me, though--this is my taste down to the tiniest point. This record is gorgeous, and I urge you all to check out Joanna's myspace [link above] and give it a listen.

It turns out that Contraries is her second record. She has a previous release called Eyre Corvidae which I believe is Latin for Crow's Nest. I wonder if it's kicking around the CHMA Library? I would love to take a listen to it; if it's anything like Contraries, I'll fall a little bit in love with it, too.

Give it a listen. Come on. Check the myspace if you don't want to try the tracks I've put up. Give it a whirl. You won't be disappointed.

Come on. Listen!

Joanna Chapman-Smith - A Glass of Right & Wrong

Rating: 8.5/10
Released: 17 February 2009

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