Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adriane Lakes's "Morning Glow" - A Breath of Fresh Air

I have been wanting to write a review of Adriane Lake's "Morning Glow" for a while now. I have been listening to a lot of Tangerine Dream for the last several weeks with a little Pink Floyd thrown in and this album was a refreshing and welcome change on the lighter side of synthesis. I write experimental music so listening to "Morning Glow" was a bit of a gear change for me but I think trying to expand one's musical horizons is always a good thing and I like to support artists like Adriane who clearly are not just playing follow the leader and making an album that sounds like everything else. This copy cat mentality fostered by record companies is a disease that has plagued much of commercial music.

I found "Morning Glow" to have a light, fresh and at times whimsical style that I found refreshing and yet, at the same time, I found musical and technical elements that are well worth commenting on. Adriane's voice is also light, clear and pure but also full of expression.

"Morning Glow" is an interesting mix of synthesizers and vocals. I was impressed by the bass lines although as I will comment on some of the songs I would have used something more like a fretless bass. The last song "The Fullness of Life" showcases a bit of Adriane's synthesizer talents but I would like to see her explore her experimental/ambient side a bit more. OK, that's my bias, I admit that but my recommendation to her is to sit down one night with some headphones and Brian Eno's "Music for Airports" and see how to produce music without drum tracks. At times I found the drum tracks a bit to prominent and at times redundant from song to song. Perhaps more variation and different types of percussive instruments might work.

Here is a review of the individual songs:

So Beautiful

I liked this song. It's simple but very pleasant. It made me smile and that is always a good thing in life so thanks to Adriane for that. I also noticed a great deal of variation in the rhythm track along with background vocals and synths which was a nice tapestry of sounds that stand in somewhat stark contrast to the mechanized tracks of a lot of pop music I hear these days.

Jacques Cousteau

I don't think I can say I have heard an accordion being mixed with synthesizers before. It clearly makes this album unique but also illustrates nicely Adriane's lack of fear of being different and of trying new sounds and combinations of instruments.

Perhaps, a shuti box:

Who Are the People in My Life

I really like this song from the perspective of the melody. Adriane's vocals also shine on this song. It reminded me a bit of "Swing Out Sister" for some reason. I would love to hear Adriane experiment with jazz or perhaps a jazz standard. It might be a way to expand into something different.

Lost Umbrellas

I hear Adriane's clear background in classical music on this track combined with a quirky rhythm track. I would love to hear more of it on other tracks. However, this is also a track in which I found the rhythm track a bit to prominent in the mix. Perhaps moving the slider down a bit and adding some reverb to the piano might soften the mix a bit. It would make the song a bit darker but again, add some variation to the overall style of the album.

Only a Fantasy

The bass here is really interesting. A fretless bass would work great here. Adriane's sense of bass is different and unique and certainly adds a very personal stamp to all of the songs on this album.

Cadillac Cat

This is certainly one of the more whimsical of the songs but I really like the rhythm and bass lines here. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. A fretless bass might work well with this song.

This reminded me a bit of Joni Mitchell and Jaco Pastorius playing "The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines"

Seven Again

This song is nice but it would be helped by some change in instrumentation. I would back of the rhythm track on this one as well. The piano might sound better if it where more bell like or almost toy piano like (i..e. the title).

Just for some ideas:

Blanket of Love

This song also has a nice bass lines. There is also some nice harmony on this song. The pads here are also very nice.

The Fullness of Life

I was impressed by Adriane's synthesizers here. This song clearly showcases her more ambient side. Come over to the ambient side Adriane.

Concluding Remarks

Adriane is a promising artist with an ingredient that is much needed in today's pop music, integrity. I don't sense that Adriane is trying to sound like anyone else and that's great to hear. I would love to see further development and expansion on her rhythm tracks although certainly "Cadillac Cat" and even "So Beautiful" showcase Adriane's capacity to use some interesting syncopation's. As I also stated here elsewhere, I would love to hear more from the synthesizers on the side of experimentation.

Thanks to Adriane for a very enjoyable listening experience and many wishes for a bright recording future.

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