01 02 03 Dear All, I've got some news: “Clara’s ‘Ashes and Tangerines’; a fairy tale for grownups” 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

“Clara’s ‘Ashes and Tangerines’; a fairy tale for grownups”

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I didn’t know Clara Engel. She introduced herself to me a few days ago.
She’s a musician, a songwriter and a singer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
Her first EP, Madagascar, was released in 2011.
Her second album, Tender, was released a year later.
On December 6th, her new LP, Ashes and Tangerines, became available at bandcamp.com.

The first track, Raven, lands you inside a forest, where you overhear a raven “complaining”, first to a king, then to a boy, about its own existence and its lack of any purpose to pursue.
The raven’s “words” are crystal clear, drowned in a staccato vanity.
Yet, Clara Engel expresses the bird’s confession of existential issues, with her own voice and her guitar, by using a legato technique, deprived of any unnecessary emotional outburst.

In Harvest, Clara keeps on with her confessional mood, even more intensely, by the repetition of the same lyrics. She speaks to the wind and the nature in pretense. In truth, she wants to speak only to herself.
She feels as an object without dimensions, swinging in the air, wondering and deciding on facts at the same time. The facts are known only to her.

Heaven and Hell is a careful agonizing ode to the in-between space of those “places”, as well as the “trap” of the issues on “afterlife”.
The piano sets its relieving limits within the stone walls circling both “places” and temporarily hides fear and desperation, which both derive from the fact that nothing ever comes to an end.

King Temperance, the king of prudence, is a slow march played by a three member band, deprived of any demand of grandeur. Besides, nobody can demand anything from this “king”, who steals blue out of the sky and life from whatever he sets his hands on.
The distortions of Clara’s voice balance with the denouncing tone of her whole performance, which, during the end of the track, slightly “breaks into pieces”; slowly, lonely, barely without notice.

“Tangerines” is half the title of the album. Clara Engel addresses someone in an almost happy tone; reality may be put aside and hell may be a place under the seawater, where you can plant tangerine trees and then drown within dreams.

Then, Clara Engel tries to touch an X-Ray, in order to use it, within a quite restrained passion, as a replacement of a heart. The desperation of such gesture is more than evident, as drums, saxophone, clarinet and horn sound more intense towards the end of the track.

Marrow Bone is a track immediately influenced by folk music. It provides Clara the privilege of laughing at her interlocutor. She invites him to beg her.

Hope is Heavy is full of her voice and then of bass and horn. It is really the “manifest” of the album. Mostly because it includes the following lyrics;
 Hope is heavy/ Out of this world
A scalding kiss/ Night’s endless return

The album’s production blends Clara’s poetry with her music, so as to produce a very interesting mixture of strong senses. “Ashes and Tangerines”; destruction and reboot. Now and never.
Everything exists in her fantasy, inside the forest of the tale where she landed, stayed and perceived, among other stuff, the rare blending of fantastic and real things.

Clara Engel’s album is a highly notable effort to state her personal music style. She introduces herself and invites you to enter the world the way she perceives it.
It is a fairy tale experience for grownups. One you definitely should not lose.

Ashes and Tangerines is available for streaming at:

http://claraengel.bandcamp.com/album/ashes-tangerines 
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/claraengelmusic
http://soundcloud.com/claraengel
 
P.S. Clara, really pleased to have met you.

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