27 August 2021 (released)
23 August 2021
Despite how social media has attempted to distill us down into a one-dimensional personal profile, we as individuals are each composed of many distinct and occasionally conflicting traits. Political opinions that cross party lines, friends of all stripes, and widely varied artistic tastes. Those who don't have this variety of spirit are the dullards of society. Embracing these disparate traits and realizing that they all contribute to your personality is one of the keys to self-actualization.
Canadian vocal artist Jordana Talsky is paying tribute to that depth of spirit on her new record Zahava. The EP is composed entirely of sounds made by her voice and body, layered with a loop pedal. Although the looping technology is digital, the music she is making is made of 100% organic sounds. Making a record like this takes tremendous vocal range and control and Talsky has it in spades. Zahava is a pristine collection promoting power, wisdom, and grace from a confident feminine perspective.
Stacked chords in the style of Motown backing singers introduce the lead-off 'Superpower'. A lower register voice hit along with in-the-pocket finger snaps set up the “rhythm section”. Talsky's lead vocal has that aspirational Broadway quality. Playful and assertive, while steeped in hope and longing. Talsky sings with unshakable presence without having to belt to the ceiling with over-the-top grandstanding. The latest single 'Over the Wall' has Talsky's vocals chiming like a slick soul electric piano. She sings of simple curiosity in a simple yet perceptive manner.
The album's standout track 'Trouble Up' shows the vocalist giving a little more attitude with a more frantic mood. Talsky sings of the chaos bubbling up inside her, voicing her conflicts earnestly. Her powerful voice erupting with vibrato over the tense echoing soundscape she creates recalls Fiona Apple's brilliant latest album. She sings with that same bluesy lounge scorn. At times, the mania even releases like John Lennon's cries in 'Cold Turkey'.
Talsky has used her prowess with looping technology successfully in the past on certain tracks but to have a whole EP done in that style makes for an intriguing unifying concept. The album takes you into that sonic space and holds you there while Jordana explores the various facets of her personality with a candid sincerity. When there is no big band to hide behind, everything is exposed. Whether you appreciate the vocal layering of a Bobby McFerrin or Jacob Collier, or just the honest simplicity of Lorde, you will find something to sink your teeth into on this record. A light-hearted look at personalities, insecurities, foibles, and quirky strengths.