Friday, June 7, 2013

Kari Rueslatten - Other People's Stories (2004)

Released seven years after the other album of hers, this is a lighter weight, more internationally friendly album. For one thing, the lyrics and vocals are in English. Her voice is as sweet and lilting as before, delicate and fragile like a feather on the breeze, but with a power to it too.

The cover booklet is sophisticated and modern, with photographs "enhanced" by white vectored lines that are used to depict motion, perhaps? The paper is sturdy and quite glossy, high quality ink. It almost looks laminated.

The album opens with the gentle "Other People's Stories". The vocals dominate, the gently strumming guitars playing a pleasing background to the lilting vocals and autumnal rhythms.

Another pleasant and gentle piece with some folk-type rhythms, "Sorrow to My Door" is not a particularly cheerful song, although the litling vocals are sweet and pure as bells, even when singing sorrow:
"The house burned down, to the ground, to the ground, ashes and dust."
 "Dog Star" has a slightly bubbly sound to it, like a record. The vocals are playful and oh-so innocent, Kari's accent becoming more apparent. It's a very narrative song, with the lyrics being rather simplistic, befitting the mood.

"Cry" has a slightly technical edge to it, a twirling, whirling accentuation to the vocals - which are again soft and delicate.

"When Lillies Bloom on Winter Days" is like crystalline snowflakes drifting down to gild the frozen flowers. Pure, untainted, with an icy chill lit by sunlight.

Somewhat more modern, almost technical and with the rhythms more typical of one of the dance genres, "Push" is a faster paced and far more commercial in feel.

"Ride" is another combining the vocals with strangely electronically eerie noises and the stronger modern beats.

Even more spectral and vocal, "Fishing" relies entirely on the vocals. Kari's voice dancing up and down the rhythms, high and sweet and pure. Several verse in the instruments start, a whimsical accompaniment.

"Carved in Stone" is another pleasantly gentle piece with slightly more stirring choruses and light electronic accompaniment.

"Life" offers more of the same and "Orlando" offers little more, although it has a pleasingly melancholic feel to it.

 Overall, this is an extremely easy album to listen to - but not a very inspirational one. It makes for pleasing, soothing background music - along the lines of Enya (but less irritating) with its slow pacing and languid, relaxed rhythms. The tracks are short - the longest being just over 4 and a half minutes. Whilst Kari's voice is certainly sweet and aurally pleasing, each track blurs into one and it's a bit dull.

Rating 6/10.

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