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Swiss vocalist and composer Emilie Weibel is a poet at heart and not only because she penned most of the words on her intriguing debut oMoo. A deep sense of lyricism permeates the entire performance of this cycle of songs that transforms the entire album into an intimate and introspective verse narrative.
Her unaccompanied exquisite voice hovers in expectant silence on the prayer like "Lemania." Electronic sound effects support her undulating emotive singing enhancing the serenity and the mystique of the tune with their steady beats and haunting echoes.
French symbolist Paul Verlaine's wistful "L'Heure Exquise" (put to music by Venezuelan composer Reynaldo Hahn) tiptoes in on Weibel's yearning whispers and her xylophone's crystalline mallets. Weibel interprets the aria with a crisp modernism that remains true to the melancholic romanticism of the original.
Weibel also has a strong dramatic sense as she constructs three-dimensional pieces with inventive and memorable atmospheres. Accompanying herself on various instruments and utilizing sound clips Weibel carefully directs the progression of these brief yet eerily transcendent tunes with agility and deftness.
Her wordless vocalese on "Tu Dis" blows like a fragrant breeze as her own overdubbed refrains buoy the lilting air. While the sunny disposition of the clever and playful "Hello Lėa" is laced with a delightfully dark undercurrent.
This type of contrasting motifs also appears on the title track with its chanting vamps. Despite her elegantly ethereal delivery and the intricately woven melody there is something vibrantly primal about the overlapping vocables.
The passionate "Paola" opens with a soft sonic drone over which Weibel's sparse yet ardent enunciations effortlessly glide. Her, organic and resonant voice melds with the electronics to a sublimely hypnotic effect.
Weibel' first record demonstrates that she is an adventurous and innovative musician. This, hopefully, is the first volume in a unique body of work that is to come from this immensely talented and sophisticated artist.
Track Listing: Lemania; Footprints; Paola; Tu Dis (To My Dad); L' Heure Exquise; River Song; Omoo; Hello
Personnel: Emilie Weiberl: vocals, music box, xylophone, percussion, keyboards, electronics.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.