This past Saturday I was a guest out at Rocking Horse Studio for a private listening of Anna Madsen’s new record “Whisper.” I was extremely excited to hear the album and may have shown up a few minutes early because I was all antsy with anticipation. I was greeted outside by Anna and had a nice chat about the cold weather, Pat Gochez’s hair and her recent show in Concord. We made our way into the studio and I was warmly greeted by the talented Brian Coombes. Brian has a beautiful studio, it is like an art piece of music perfection. Each wall is stacked with different keyboards, instruments and there are pianos all over the place. We got caught up with what has happened in our lives since we had seen each other last and then get down to business… the music.
I take a seat on the couch and get ready to start listening. Brian hits play on the first track of “Whisper” and I am saturated with a sonic attack of limitless layers of music. The album opens with the stratospheric song “Devil’s Garden.” Anna’s voice erupts on my eardrums drenched in reverb and introspective lyrics. Her vocals are hypnotic with variations in notes and timbre, her entire being and delivery melts my soul with dark beauty. A delayed snare smashed into my brain with a paradiddle on the toms giving an almost African feel. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album. As Brian puts it, Organic verses Electronic. Each song has both parts battling for superiority.
Throughout the album I can hear the counterpoint between organic instruments like claves, drums and acoustic guitars battling with Dr. Rhythm programmed drums and lush soundscapes of vintage keyboards long since forgotten to all except the masterful Coombes. The vocals are harmonically-rich but the exactness of the delivery seems so effortless that the lines are blended into the refined passion floating in the æther.
Each song on this album shows the mastery of Anna Madsen’s song writing. The musicians compliment her and lift her performance to the Gods. A fantastic album that is sure to please the masses.
You can catch Anna Madsen live on March 5th at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry. This will be the CD release show and promises to be amazing with full band, costume changes and me in the audience.