If audio releases were ships following one another and I was standing on the deck of Sasha Masakowski's debut recording, Wishes (Hypersoul, 2011), I don't think I could have seen as far away as needed to spy her follow-up Hildegard. Certainly not without a telescope. Like Wishes which Masakowski made with her ensemble, the Musical Playground, the artist inaugurates a new ensemble, Hildegard. The ensemble name is potent with meaning to the singer, whose middle name is Hildegard, and that in honor of the 12th Century German Abbess and mystic Hildegard von Bingen. These are lofty associations.
Where Masakowski's tendency on Wishes was "less is more," employing a smaller band with a more spare sound, she turns a full 180-degrees for Hildegard. Shimmering, electric, and layered, the pieces making up this present release are complex, out- of-the-box renderings that echo the art-rock movement of the 1970s and the electric jazz flavor of the same period. Masakowski melds a broad range of music and influences into this very forward-thinking electronic suite. There is much to admire here as the artist has not simply thought "outside-the-box" so much as stomp the box flat.
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