Midnight Jazz

David Hansen expresses personal heartaches on fusion CD

September 23, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

David Hansen/All That I Could Give

David Hansen certainly gives his all on this intimate and hopelessly romantic album; every track was written, produced, and arranged by himself. Hansen juggles several styles here – contemporary classical, jazz, New Age, Adult Contemporary, and world music – and manages to stitch them together in the context of moving ballads and spunky instrumentals. Snappy drums and upbeat keyboards produce a playful groove for the opening piece, “Armada.” The synthesized rhythms have a somewhat ’80s flavor that might remind you of fusion efforts from that era.

On the title track, we can hear Hansen’s voice for the first time; it is soulful and deep, not too different from Peter Gabriel’s. A tale of lost love, Hansen’s melancholy lyrics blend well with Joel Hips’ smooth-jazz riffs, increasing the pensive emotions of the piece. “Love in Three Days” thematically seems to be a continuation of it with Bob Mathis’ tropical flute adding an island flavor to the song. There has to be a personal heartache behind these compositions. Throughout the record Hansen balances the experimental tendencies of New Age with the fine craftsmanship of contemporary classical and the unguarded feelings of pop; whether he’s expressing himself wordlessly or through the warm glow of his singing, Hansen has us in the palm of his hands.

http://davidhansenmusic.com

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Laura Pursell’s ‘Somewhere in this Room’ is ‘meticulously crafted and classically arranged’

June 2, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

Laura Pursell/Somewhere in this Room

Laura Pursell’s Somewhere in this Room is too beautiful to be categorized as Adult Contemporary. Given that the genre has embodied too much cheese the past couple of decades, laying the Adult Contemporary tag on this meticuously crafted and classically arranged project is too superficial. The first five or so minutes of Somewhere in this Room, the opening “Overture,” is a sweeping instrumental piece that’ll leave you breathless and in awe with its waves of lush violins and evocative piano. Pursell doesn’t even sing on it; it isn’t until the second track, “When You Come Down,” that Pursell is introduced, seducing us with a fragile voice as sweet and warm as Karen Carpenter’s in her prime.

From “Overture” you get the impression that Pursell will pursue chamber-pop on the rest of the CD. Not at all. Pursell veers from the bluesy regrets of “Not Much to Lose” to the bossa nova charms of “When You Smile” to the orchestral masterpiece that is the title cut. Producer Andrew Bonime does an outstanding job of keeping the record consistent even when Pursell strays from one genre to the other. The album is not meant to be sliced into pieces on an iPod; it must be experienced from beginning to end, letting its various parts melt into each other to produce a massively satisfying and hauntingly pretty whole. Somewhere in this Room is nothing less than a work of art.

http://www.somewhereinthisroom.com


About author

Julian Wilson, Editor, has been writing about different genres of music, from jazz to techno, for nearly two decades in print.

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