The Absent and the Distant
Anyone who’s been reading my reviews for any length of time knows how big a fan I am of a small sound. Not necessarily meek music, but the aesthetic of less-is-more. Corrina Repp, on her first disc for Mark Kozelek’s Caldo Verde label, makes a gigantic and distinct sound from an absurdly small amount of instrumentation.
The album begins with the instrumental “Song For The Sinking Ship.” Built around simple violin drones and a softly repititious piano melody, it’s delicate and unassuming, but also completely captivating. “All” continues in this vein, with Repp stripping away any remaining sustain. The result is a sparse and haunting rhythm section that chases her vocals like ghosts. Even when Repp allows enough sound to coelesce into riffs and drive, as on “Safe Place in the World,” she ends up cutting it all loose in the end and letting the song coast out on slide guitar into the ethereal. Repp’s command of both melody and silence in her songwriting is what sets her apart from her contemporaries. On “Anyone’s It” she uses only droning electronics and a low rumble from the guitar and bass to support her vocals until a plunky glockenspiel melody quietly assumes control. You read that right, a glockenspiel assumes control. This is a songwriter after my own heart and this album is an early contender for Best Album of 2007.
Caldo Verde: www.caldoverderecords.com