Luis Mojica – How A Stranger Is Made

photo by Kelly Merchant

For us music is a grand adventure and the best encounters are those which take us away from the real world whether it is for four minutes of a single track or an hour or so of a larger aural emprise. The new album from Luis Mojica is one such invitation to escape reality, a truly unique proposal which has turned irresistibility into an art form.

Already renowned as part of eclectic avant cello-based collective Rasputina, Mojica has forged his own alluring presence as a solo artist, one which is simply striking within new full-length How A Stranger Is Made, the successor to his acclaim 2016 debut, Wholesome. Mojica is like a troubadour, carrying a piano on his back and a storybook in his voice and imagination with How A Stranger Is Made a quest across a strange land plucking tales and characters from its unique landscape, drawing from their experiences to confess or certainly hint at his own emotional intimacy. The release as a whole is enthralling and each song a piano centred tapestry of the lives of individuals amidst idiosyncratic stories but easy to feel moments which are equally sharing an aspect of the creator himself.

Though it is fair to say that every song within How A Stranger Is Made fascinated and seduced pretty much effortlessly, its opening pair stood atop the mountain of favourites. Insane is first up and immediately hooked ears with the thick beats which announce its entrance and drama. Straightaway there is a contagion in the keys of Mojica, each note dancing and flirting with attention yet equally sharing a just as gripping emotive pungency. Like a siren, the sax of Caelan Manning shines on the shadows of song and word, its smoky lures just as darkly shaded to similarly enslave with the rich notes escaping the piano. The track is superb, easily one of our favourites songs of 2019 and swiftly matched in potency and pleasure by its successor.

Shaman Food strolls in with a swarthy swagger, spirits enticing with vocal tempting before Mojica and his word wrapped keys bounce through the imagination. The rhythm s of Evan Glen Adams infest feet and hips as the man himself entangles thoughts and spirit with his own; another realm of crepuscular shadows brought alive with craft, adventure and a vocal prowess which itself is a cast of a thousand souls.

From its first breath, there is an open intimacy to next up Invoked, the painting of its protagonist revealing more than just a singular entity. The silvery radiance of Mojica’s piano and tones are courted by the darker hues of Jason Sarubbi’s bass, their contrasting textures united in magnetism as rich and inescapable as Mojica’s rousing vocal palette; that mix as thickly enticing within the folkish hued, volatility breathing Moon Men. The cello of Sister Ursuline is a particular seduction, the tones of Mojica another and with his keys ever conjuring, the imagination was ensnared once again.

Across the quirkily stroked, aberrantly woven Cowboys and De La Saint with its melody pouncing, spring in the step sharing shamanic beauty ears and appetite were again enslaved, the latter of the pair a delicious track far richer and diverse than our words can intimate while Witch Love after them offers another shadow draped seduction impossible to hold at bay as once more craft and imagination rise up with startling enterprise.

If not quite to the depth of those before, City Friends only transfixed though there are certain moments of inflamed rapture which absolutely got under the skin, a trait The Ranger similarly offered with its controlled but animated gait and swing. With the violin of Rebecca Moore and Manning’s sax adding their bewitching aural paint the song’s canvas, temptation was inescapable.

Queen Song again unites shamanic and liturgical essences in its own rich musical textile, every note and syllable picturesque for the imagination and leaving a lingering impression as it makes way for the album’s final offering, a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Stranger Song. Though it did not ignite the passions as any before it, the voice and piano of Mojica absorbed time and attention.

It is a mesmeric and haunting conclusion to an album which even after numerous plays just thrills and impresses more and more; Luis Mojica a minstrel unafraid to share worldly and personal souls.

How A Stranger Is Made is set for release on October 4th with pre-ordering available @ https://luismojica.bandcamp.com/album/how-a-stranger-is-made

https://www.luismojica.com/    https://www.facebook.com/luismojicamusic   https://twitter.com/luismojicamusic

Pete RingMaster 24/09/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

St Aria – We claim this aria

We claim this aria team, photo by Malin Brandt

We claim this aria team, photo by Malin Brandt

Weaving inspirations from metal, pop, and melodic rock into emotive metal ballads, St Aria make a potent introduction for themselves with the We claim this aria EP. Consisting of five piano led reflections and one feisty rock encounter, the EP is a striking proposition for thoughts and emotions to contemplate. It is a little mixed in success, often raising more questions than it has immediate answers for, but from start to finish and especially given plenty of attention, the EP emerges as a pleasingly refreshing and intriguing prospect.

St Aria is cored around Alexander Platon (piano, lyricist, composer) and Jimmy Ferhm (vocals, composer and guitar) who united with the intent to explore and evolve in a number of different styles through music marketing, live performances and studio recordings. Bringing in numerous talented musicians to collaborate in and realise their creativity, the pair set about recording We claim this aria at Sonart Production. The project itself began in 2012 with Plato, though initially a constant movement of members saw the band take an early hiatus with its founder himself joining The Borderline Saints. With Ferhm the vocalist of the same band and producer/bassist Emanuel Svensson, the trio resurrected St Aria taking inspiration from the likes of Evanescence, Within Temptation and Nightwish into their intent. Initially meaning just to remake a couple of Platon’s early songs, interest and an increased enthusiasm for the project saw an expansion in the band’s aims and subsequently the recording of the new EP with the additional contributions of Andreas Centervall (guitar), Sofia Rapp (vocals), Hampus Jacobsson (drums), and Frans Af Malmborg (percussion).

The EP opens with the riveting Running, the magnetic piano skills and caress of Platon coaxing ears and imagination evocatively. The Coverart - We claim this ariatwinned vocals of Ferhm and Rapp flow just as easily over the senses, aligning excellently together around the firm beats and melodic beauty which colours the passion of the song. It is a superb start to the release, a mesmeric and finely honed entrance by the band into a keen attention and an early appetite for their promise.

The following Her Song emerges on a just as potent and dramatic breeze of elegant and emotive keys, the hues bred by the piano a seed to the captivating rhythmic frame and vocal expression which again only impresses. With orchestral clad synth suasion and a reserved yet fiery glaze of guitar, the song though taking longer than its predecessor to convince, brews another absorbing premise and proposition. It is not as polished as maybe it could have been production wise and lacks a spark to truly ignite the passions, both something you can say about the whole of the EP, but the track still engages for a lingering and highly pleasing incitement.

Both By Your Side and Until Life Parts Us take thoughts and emotions on an enjoyable flight, keys and orchestral ideation making a seamless fusion with, especially in the second of the two, a rawer rock graze of guitar. Again neither quite inflames as the first does so easily but with the harsher side of the songs staying on the metallic side of melodies whilst leaving the enchanting to the piano and vocal harmonies, the pair given time evolve into captivating aural paintings for thoughts to explore and emotions to embrace.

Another Symphony is initially led vocally by Rapp, her sirenesque tones courted by the pungently persuasive piano charm of Platon and again melancholic stringed spawned keys. With layers of melodies and the assisting tones of Ferhm adding the right shade of shadows to the beauty, the track is a delightful warm kiss upon the senses to keep attraction for the EP high.

Final track Fly Away merges hard rock and rap into a symphonic canvas of sound, fusing numerous flavours and styles into an encounter which in some ways should not work but does quite successfully, though more concentrated rap using metal bands need not worry about a rival, not just yet anyway. With Jesper Svensson providing that rapping within the robust and vivacious electro/ melodic rock graced adventure, the track makes for a lively and stirring conclusion to a release which certainly nourishes thoughts and ears which are always in the mood for something different.

We claim this aria is arguably not exactly over flushed with new sounds but definitely offers a new ideation in its design and thought to awaken a strong appetite for St Aria. It will be interesting to see how the project evolves ahead but it is something definitely very easy to look forward to.

We claim this aria is available now @ http://staria.bandcamp.com/

www.ariamusic.se

7/10

RingMaster 15/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tanzan Blue Vol.I: Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners

With an unreserved mood and unbridled passion the debut compilation from Tanzan Music is an impressive and exciting release. Tanzan Blue Vol.I – Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners brings together some of the finest artists on the label to offer a selection of songs borne of the blues, folk, and the most impassioned of ballads. Even if those areas of music do not usually spark the strongest reaction or enthusiasm the release has more than enough to make it a satisfying and enjoyable experience for most.

The album brings together music from the likes of Blueville, David Stockdale, Mario Percudani, Smokey Fingers, and Hungryheart into a mix which not only shows off the fine talents and songwriting of these artists but seamlessly places their songs side by side into a thoughtful and pleasing landscape of feelings and emotive atmosphere. There are always favourites within these kinds of compilations but with Tanzan Blue Vol.I you have one of the strongest and most consistently enjoyable collections in a long time.

The album starts off with the glowing heart of Love Letters In My Guitar Case by Italian band Blueville. The song is a blues slow burner which wraps its warm tender grooves laced with a gospel like elegance around the ear. The song bristles and pulsates wonderfully and is an immediate highlight to the release. The band top and tail the album, closing it off with Misery featuring the great vocals of Sherrita Duran, another great song though the opener has a definite edge.

Blueville have as members the equally talented Mario Percudani and Marco Tansini, and the album sees a double entry from both from their solo work. Percudani contributes the songs Don’t Bother Me and You Can Run. The first is a stylish blues rock pleasure bringing a vibrant jazz pulse from the excellent guitar and keyboard work. It is a song that is impossible not to be swept up by, the vocal harmonies with Elisa Paganelli soaring with mesmeric beauty. You Can Run is a slower but no less encapsulating piece with further stunning harmonies from this time Barbara Boffelli alongside Percudani and his stirring musicianship. Both songs show why he is in such demand as a collaborator, songwriter and producer, impactful and deeply pleasing music.

      Marco Tansini brings two songs to the release in the shape of White and Green, both blues grilled slices of guitar heaven. Tansini is one of those artists who even if guitar led music is not your general preference you can sit for hours being hypnotised by. Both songs on the release absorb the senses and his playing and compositions alone portray emotions as deep as any song with words dripping intent and passion.

The album also includes a double pleasure from American singer/songwriter David Stockdale. From Santa Barbara, Stockdale became a favourite with his recent album Dark Riders, and the two cuts from that placed in this release remind why he is one of the more vibrant and infectious artists out there in the blues/folk field.  Here Comes The Night is a captivating song with a slight country whisper running through it whilst Who a keen favourite of ours, makes an energetic and uplifting presence on the album. With the likes of Tom Petty, Dave Matthews and Crosby Stills Nash & Young as influences you can get a sense of the energy and depths of sound he brings forth.

A new band to us Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles also have two songs on the album, the slow pacing Let Me Know and If You Say Goodbye. Another two songs that wear their hearts on their sleeves, the first standing tall with passion oozing from every pore from the great female vocalist featured and the second a ballad from the deepest corner of his emotions. Though both songs do not quite hit the mark like others it is more to their unfamiliar presence one suspects and they do make the want to hear more from them keen.

Completed by single tracks from the excellent Smokey Fingers with Sweet Tears and Hungryheart with You Won’t Be Alone, the album is a thoroughly enjoyable time. The Smokey Fingers song is rife with an openly familiar melody but still an irresistible treat whilst the Hungryheart song though not as impressive as their usual hard rock driven sounds is a welcome and fitting ballad to the release.

Tanzan Blue Vol.I – Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners is a great and compelling album which not only show cases the great talent at Tanzan Music but brings a complete and thrilling pleasure to be fulfilled by. With so many great artists and songs on board it is an album all should welcome in to their day and hearts.

http://www.tanzanmusic.com/catalogue/various-artists/tanzan-blue-volume-1

RingMaster 12/05/2012

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