Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Band of Brothers Vol 1 (EMI)

 |   |  1 min read

Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Transcendence
Hollie Smith and Mara TK: Band of Brothers Vol 1 (EMI)

Although this collaboration with Mara TK of the electronica outfit Electric Wire Hustle will doubtless be read in some circles as a departure for Smith, most often known for her sky-scaling soul style -- as she notes in this interview with Elsewhere -- this is just growth.

And because Smith's work and difficulties have been lived out in the public domain after that high profile experience with the Blue Note subsidiary label Manhattan at the start of her career, she is right to remind us that she was young then, and still is.

So inevitably she is still exploring her potential and on this album -- her voice restrained, deftly deployed as another instrument in the whole canvas being painted -- she moves down a notch from the excellent previous album Humour and the Misfortune of Others.

Now we hear even more subtlety coming through (the understated but tense Living for Living where she once might have let go into over-emoting) and the album's segues from one song/piece to another give it an interesting ambient quality also.

Mara's music (co-written with Smith and others, and realised by a small cast) is also textured: the elegantly spare backdrop on Ship Her to Another World where Smith's processed vocals have a liquid feel; hints of Bootsy-funk in The Spirit Racing in the Mind and nightclub soul-noir in the space-age Transcendence; the gorgeously cinematic Promised Land Hotel which sounds like it has stepped out of a Sixties soundtrack where Smith is given just enough space to let go a little Shirley Bassey . . .

So maybe not a tangent or departure, but simply Smith finding her voice in another interesting context.

Six weeks from start to finish? That's impressive.

So is this.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

AngelaS - Aug 12, 2011

it's nice to hear the sophisticated subtlety and just be led along by the ambient style - I just wish they'd spent more than 6 weeks and recorded a few more tracks. It's all over before you know it and for $26.99 I'd have liked more for my money.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Metropole Orkest: The Wine of Silence (DGM/Southbound)

The Metropole Orkest: The Wine of Silence (DGM/Southbound)

Holland's Metropole Orchestra has an impressive track record in performing with musicians from across the rock, pop, jazz and world music spectrum. Down the decades they have worked with people... > Read more

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Singer-songwriter Wayne Mason may be best (and in some circles only) known as the guy who wrote the Kiwi classic Nature for the Fourmyula (later covered by the Mutton Birds). But that was almost... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Crispy'n'chilli squid

Crispy'n'chilli squid

Cannot tell a lie, this is a variation on something from Nigella Bites -- but with a twist. Real tasty starter, but it does involve gettin' squishy with it because you really do need fresh squid... > Read more

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

POINT MUSIC (1992-2002): A decade of delivering new music

In many ways Rory Johnston looked exactly what he was, the vice-president of A&R (artists and repertoire) of a contemporary classical music label. It was there in the high, broad forehead... > Read more