Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Soul Music...

When an album comes at you from all corners, maybe that's a sign to get off your ass and write a post about it (for that matter, write about anything - my apologies for taking an extended hiatus from ETTS; been sick, busy with the kid, etc.).

Lost Where I Belong, the debut by UK songstress Andreya Triana has been swirling around me just begging to be written up.

The fine folks at Outside Music sent a review copy, the peeps at Terrorbird sent it digitally, and my new Twitter follower SoulCuts wrote a nice little piece about the album.

When I first hit play on my iPod, I had no idea about the pedigree of the album, just that it was on Ninja Tune. The cover image led me to believe this was one of the label's rare forays outside their comfort zone, but I couldn't be certain until the first notes of "Draw The Stars" featuring a kalimba and Triana's languorous vocals removed any doubt. Suffice it to say, this ain't the Ninja Tune of Coldcut and Amon Tobin, but the label has dabbled in similar sonic waters with Fink (though it's not like Triana is the female Fink...).

Triana gained some prior notoriety for her collaboration with Flying Lotus on "Tea Leaf Dancers," but on Lost Where I Belong, the boards were helmed by label mate Bonobo who brought a subtle touch to this debut album. There are plenty of bells and whistles but nothing - and I mean nothing - overshadows Triana's voice on these nine numbers. Even on the busiest of tunes ("A Town Called Obsolete") Triana is at the center of the mix with a fat bassline rumbling underneath while the band and echoing chorus flit about on the periphery.

There's a reason Bonobo has exercised restraint on the production of this album and it is simply that Triana's voice needs no embellishment. It's a haunting and soulful instrument that hints at deep sadness on songs like "Darker Than Blue" but also conveys strength and resilience on "Far Closer" (one of the real standouts). Even if her debut didn't suggest a very bright future for a solo career, Triana's services would no doubt be in great demand as a guest vocalist.

Though I for one hope we hear more of Triana's own compositions if they meet the standard she's set on her debut.

Check out the video for the aforementioned "A Town Called Obsolete"

And be sure to check out Andreya's artist page and Myspace.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...