Norine Braun

Norine Braun

Now & Zen

Braun and Brains

OK, just get past the somewhat disquieting disembodied head cover art and listen to this CD. People throw the word “eclectic” around a lot these days when describing CDs that fall outside the commercial mainstream, but pop vocalist Norine Braun’s latest disc earns that label. Now & Zen is a pretty cool mix of styles • she calls it, “ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz and punk” — that maintains a cohesive focus. It’s also a lot of fun.

Like jazz-pop vocalist Martha Lipton, Norine Braun has a lovely, flexible voice that sounds natural covering a variety of styles. The insistent chant-like refrain on “Intimate Hour” — “Intimate hour become surreal power hour” — has an appealing hip-hop feel and an undeniable commercial hook. On the bluesy/funk rock “J’en Suis Desolee” — mixing sung choruses with spoken verses — her voice sounds a lot like Debbie Harry. Similarly, “I’m The 1” sounds like it could have come off a lost Blondie album from 1980. When Norine shifts gears to the laid-back, southwestern-style acoustic guitar and trumpet accompaniment on “Survival of the Richest,” it doesn’t sound at all out of place

Now & Zen most reminds me of the soundtrack to a favorite musical film or play, where you run to the record store immediately after leaving the theater in order to grab the album before the songs can fully leave your consciousness. That’s a pretty big compliment. Search a little deeper into the pop music pile and dig out Norine Braun’s Now & Zen. You’ll thank yourself.

Norine Braun:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • A Musical Manifesto for the Pandemic
    A Musical Manifesto for the Pandemic

    Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians Globe of Frogs helps Jeffrey Schweers endure the pandemic in another burst of Wax On!

  • Laion Roberto
    Laion Roberto

    A Taste for Mojo. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Hinds

    The Prettiest Curse (Mom + Pop Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Coriky

    Coriky (Dischord). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Sylvester

    Known for birthing two of the most iconic crossover anthems of the disco era -“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)” Sylvester’s sensational 1978 set, “Step II” has just been reborn, via Craft Recordings.

  • Teddy Thompson
    Teddy Thompson

    Heartbreaker Please (Thirty Tigers). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Keri Johnson
    Keri Johnson

    Anyone. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Liberté

    Generoso Fierro reviews Albert Serra’s new transgressive feature Liberté, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

  • Junko Beat
    Junko Beat

    Satirifunk (Dumparade Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Blood Tide
    Blood Tide

    Richard Jefferies classic looks like a new film in the Blu-ray reissue.

From the Archives