know Clara Engel. She introduced herself to me a few days ago.
musician, a songwriter and a singer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
EP, Madagascar, was released in 2011.
album, Tender, was released a year
6th, her new LP, Ashes and
Tangerines, became available at bandcamp.com.
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.
“words” are crystal clear, drowned in a staccato vanity.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
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
and Tangerines is available for streaming at:
P.S. Clara, really pleased
to have met you.