Exposé Online banner

Marissa Nadler — Ballads of Living and Dying
(Eclipse ECL-036, 2004, CD)

Marissa Nadler — The Saga of Mayflower May
(Eclipse ECL-044, 2005, CD)

by Cesar Montesano, Published 2006-05-01

Ballads of Living and Dying Cover artThe Saga of Mayflower May Cover art

The voice is crystalline and exhilaratingly haunting, a crisp and refreshing elixir. Her muse is resolute, hewn from emotion, fashioned from a steadfast rock that never falters. Melancholy is a vehicle. In this case, it carries hallmarks of hopeful redemption. Languid and endearing, she is one of the unsung heroes of the decade to come; Marissa brings solace from the hollows directly beneath the human shell. Ms. Nadler's communiqué takes a classic foray into the world of early folk-rockers. In traditional troubadour fashion, her art is a conduit for soulfulness. Casting her lot directly and honestly may even serve as some form of cathartic transfiguration. This careful songsmithing seeks to escape the confines of an internal world. More so than many, expression is a necessity for her – these songs must be sung.

She carries herself humbly, subdued in manner. When I saw her perform and we conversed a bit afterwards, I found Marissa's countenance to be quite genteel. Her energy carries a touch of similarly understated Nick Drake-ian proportions. Much of her dialectic traces the road of Vashti Bunyan in forlorn spirit, although not as seemingly innocent nor with that form of figurative lyricism. She is also a mite sadder. Her style meshes together elements of Joni Mitchell, Bert Jansch, Judy Collins, Jackson C. Frank, and Sandy Denny. Her acoustic guitar rides alongside, an understanding steed, stepping tunefully in tandem with empirical empathy. The playing is excellent and periodically accompanied by organ. Whenever her voice is double-tracked, a maudlin specter overtakes the atmosphere. Wistful diaphanous gauze sheets lull you into her swirling power.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2004 releases, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Marissa Nadler

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lars Stroschen / Jörg Thomasius / André Ruschkowski - Tonart Vier – Vier is the fourth and latest chapter of avant garde electronic experimentation from Tonart. Tonart began in 1992 as the collaborative efforts of Conrad Schnitzler, Lars Stroschen, and Jörg...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues