Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18: Emiliana Torrini, "Telepathy"

Artist: Emiliana Torrini
Song: "Telepathy"
Album: Love In The Time Of Science
Year: 1999

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Throughout the 1990's, music seemed to once again begin expanding in countless directions, and countless new styles and sounds were emerging all over the globe. Thanks to the aid of computers for both creating music, as well as the rapid worldwide distribution of said music, cultures were being mixed together like never before. Whether it was African rhythms moving into rock music or the sounds of European clubs reaching to all corners of the Earth, music has never been the same since. Within this explosion, a handful of women with some of the most mesmerizing and beautiful voices emerged, and the likes of Björk, Sia Furler, Beth Gibbons, and many others began to gain large cult followings. With their gorgeous voices and the enchanting music over which they sang, they soon became the most admired singers in what was becoming the "ambient" and "trip hop" genres. With a similar singing style, yet opting for far more structured, less heavily programed music, and bringing an equally stunning voice was the one and only Emiliana Torrini. Torrini, whose Icelandic birth and electronically-backed songs automatically toss her into comparison with Björk, is deserving of the credit that comes with such a comparison, yet in no way ever attempts to purposefully sound similar. With a voice that is far more focused, and songs that are far more sensual and more "formally" musical, unless you are aware of her shared country of origin, Emiliana Torrini sounds like one of the many uniquely fantastic female vocalists that emerged during the end of the twentieth century. With a handful of albums and singles to her name, it is almost impossible to resist the allure of her absolutely fantastic 1999 debut, Love In The Time Of Science, and one can experience the entirety of her talents on the albums' closing track, "Telepathy."

Truth be told, few albums from any genre can boast as captivating a final song as one finds here, as there is a power within the orchestration that is both tension-filled, as well as completely cathartic.  The energy built by the sonic landscape is quickly engaging, and form the forceful horn pieces to the almost dancing sounds of bells and other sound effects, "Telepathy" as a truly enchanting tone.  The deep moods on the song, both bright and dark, are extremely powerful, and the fact of the matter is, very few artists have ever been able to so perfectly present such contrasting moods on the same record, let alone within a singe song.  This is not in any way a bad thing, and much like the other songs found on Love In The Time Of Science the track is absolutely gorgeous, with each moment taking the listener away on a beautiful sonic journey. Every single note and noise has a clear purpose, and there is not a note missing, out of place, or even anything extra. Such perfection in musical orchestration in an extremely rare occurrence, and one must credit the quartet of musician/producers that made these sounds happen. These expert musicians, along with Torrini are able to create amazing musical contrasts, and the way they play her powerful voice against the soundscape is a testament to their combined talents.

While the musical patterns and moods found throughout all of Love In The Time Of Science are simply perfect, there are few singers that even remotely compare to the voice of Emiliana Torrini. On "Telepathy," she shows she has absolutely no limit whatsoever in terms of vocal range or the power the can unleash, there is also variety in her vocal approaches on the song, showing more diversity then almost any of her contemporaries.  Yet even with this great power in her vocals on "Telepathy," the core fact that he has a beautiful and captivating voice is never lost, and this is what further separates her from the pack.  This is made all the better by the lyrics to the song, and one can interpret them on a number of different levels.  Finding little need for allusions, Torrini writes about what she sees and experiences, and this translates into words that can be related to by anyone, and it makes the song all the more engaging.  It is her wordplay throughout this track that pulls the listener in even deeper, and the way her voice almost echoes across the song is nothing short of perfect.  Spinning a timeless thought in a new way, Torrini sums up many of the thoughts found on the album when she sings, "...why is it so we never know, what we have until it's gone...until we burn we never learn, what we have until it's gone..."

While she may not have gained the notoriety of peers like Björk, Beth Gibbons, or Sia Furler, there is no doubt that Emiliana Torrini is equally, if not more talented then any of her contemporaries. With a truly stunning voice that knows no melodic or stylistic limits, there are few artists who are as instantly mesmerizing as Torrini. Equally as captivating as her lyrics are the moods that are created on every song, and the variance in these textures and feelings is also largely unparalleled within any genre. From dark, cold, yet somehow "safe" feelings, to the perfect musical encapsulation of the feeling of sitting in a sunny meadow, every musical scene is flawlessly painted, and these vivid musical textures make the album an absolute joy to experience. Sometimes backed by a lone acoustic guitar, and other times singing over loud, powerful horns and percussion, every turn on Love In The Time Of Science reveals a new and equally intriguing musical platform, and Torrini navigates each style with unheralded success. After experiencing the record, one understands that it is not quite an "electronic" record, nor is it really a "pop" or "ambient" album. The fact of the matter is, throughout music history, there are few albums that are simultaneously so sensational, whilst also being almost completely impossible to categorize. Emiliana Torrini possesses what is without question one of the most amazing voices in music history. All of her wide-ranging talents are put on full display throughout every note of her truly unsurpassed 1999 debut, Love In The Time Of Science, and one can argue that the albums' final song is her most enduring effort.

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