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CD REVIEWS AMY LABER COLD, COLD YEAR 2008, INDEPENDENT

I the last year or so, New Paltz-based singer songIn w writer Amy Laber has been quietly making a name ffor herself here in the Hudson Valley, playing presttigious venues like the Towne Crier in Pawling and B Bodles Opera House in Chester. Now Laber turns in an engaging nine-song CD pproduced by Todd Giudice with an understated ssparseness. She calls her music “hypno-folk,� and it’s hher strong Celtic leanings that give the music an intoxiccating, underlying darkness. Bathed in slinky guitars, ““In Your Shadow� finds Laber drunk on love and trying id the h inevitable i i bl hangover, h hil “Taken� “T to avoid while is something you can really sink your teeth into, a deep, circular ode to commitment where Laber’s luxurious voice digs far down. The autumn tones of “I Couldn’t Stop� recall a faraway time and place maybe you only visited in your dreams, but soon Laber’s soothing voice seduces and calls in the moving “Towers of Love� which holds a hypnotic drone and a story of 9/11 and its legacy. The unflinchingly honest of “Faith� is a powerful testament to love on all levels, and a fitting close to this exquisite collection. www.myspace.com/amylaber. —David Malachowski

HAPPY RHODES FIND ME

WE HAVE MOVED

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2007, AUNTIE SOCIAL MUSIC

F of area cult artist Happy Rhodes have been Fans ffoaming at the mouth for the past nine years awaitiing her 11th studio record, but at least she didn’t m make them wait 12 years like Kate Bush did. Perhhaps the comparisons have become a bit hackneyed ssince Rhodes broke onto the scene in 1984, but tthe ghost of Kate will always be found in the upper rrange of Rhodes’s stunning four-and-a-half-octave vvocals. However, that’s where comparisons end. On FFind Me, Rhodes has created her most mature album tto date while still retaining her quirky, trademark eelectro-textures. Best to use headphones with this artist—she’s embedded many unexpected sonic treasures in the stellar production found on her recent releases, and Find Me is no exception. On track one, her jolting man-voice punches you in the face on the third beat, where percussion, electronics, and bass also weigh in heavily. The heartbreaking title track heralds back to Rhodes’s gentler, early acoustic works, spotlighting her skyscraping vocals and pleading lyrics. Groovy tracks like “Little Brother� and “She Won’t Go� will remind listeners of such previous Billboard charters as “Roy� and “Collective Heart.� Rhodes’s audience has always been a perplexing cross-section—fans of female singer-songwriters like Tori Amos, as well as those of prog rock acts like Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson. Regardless, with this release Rhodes’s die-hard disciples will continue to revel in her distinctive and enigmatic sound. www.myspace.com/happyrhodes. —Sharon Nichols

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JAZZHOP REVOLUTION THA SOUND OF TRUTH 2007, PLANET ARTS

S Spoken word is the voice of thinkers. Sometimes the vvoice of the people, sometimes the ruminations of a single thinker, sometimes the seed of revolution, cclarification or a cry for reason, beauty, anarchy, bbalance or questions unanswered. Word and music ttogether creates a hybrid art form that one might ccall highly bred. Surely the best of songwriting can bbe poetry with music. But when stripped down to w words sharing space with sounds there is an artistic llevel rarely reached in standard song form. JazzHop Revolution features Hudson Valley bbassist John Lindberg and drummer Tani Tabbal and l introduces i d Chi h wordsmith d also Chicago hi hip-hop Rahman Jamaal to my ears. Jamaal has done his homework. Creative, interactive, thought-provoking, rhythmically deft, respectful of the space musicians need, and playful. He comes at you from all kinds of angles with all kinds of voices. His words keep turning you down corners, telling stories you haven’t heard, weaving landscapes, and then bringing you back home again. With the music here he’s dealing with irregular time patterns, non-repetitive bass lines, no samples, and no drum machines. Tabbal is understated but extraordinarily supportive. His groove is well informed and inspired, always responsive to the rhythms being fed by his mates. Lindberg is at the height of his mastery. His huge, powerful acoustic bass is aided by processors, drumsticks, and vocal-sounding effects. As a fan of the freedom of both playing in and listening to creative trios, I can say that this one never fails to go deep. Included in the package is a “making of� DVD. www.planetarts.com. —Erik Lawrence

                  

  

   

  

4/08 CHRONOGRAM MUSIC 53

Chronogram - April 2008  
Chronogram - April 2008  

A regional magazine dedicated to stimulating and supporting the creative and cultural life of New York's beautiful Hudson Valley. - April 20...

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