Petrina — Be Blind
(Ala Bianca, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-07-08
After last year’s collection of adaptations of the music of other composers, Debora Petrina is back with Be Blind, a set of original tunes stylistically reminiscent of Petrina (2013). In some ways, this release is more conventional than much of her previous work, emphasizing the more rock-oriented tendencies that she has occasionally explored. But that is not to say that Be Blind is ordinary or boring in any way. There are fewer of the quiet, subtle moments, but more of the powerful rhythmic energy that worked so effectively on “Denti” or “Princess.” The attitude is a bit like Tori Amos’ most progressive work (like Boys for Pele), presenting fascinating, unpredictable, sonically adventurous takes on popular song forms. Each of the ten tracks has its own identity, with differing blends of electric, electronic, and acoustic sounds. “Paper Debris (What Remains of Our Conversations),” with its electronic percussion and massive synth-bass, is followed by “Miles,” with a full band sound and a great 7/4 groove, and “Frog Song” is almost like a collaboration between Laurie Anderson and Devo (except the piano / cello middle section). Petrina’s keyboards range widely, from acoustic piano to a variety of synths and organ sounds. The guitar work, when present, is consistently good, providing the right touches of noise and distortion but only rarely playing standard parts. The surf-inspired riff on “I Like” is a wonderful touch that keeps the music grounded. When additional instruments are brought into the arrangements, they are beautifully arranged and interesting in their own rights. To cap it all off, Petrina’s amazing voice commands attention, whether she’s whispering or belting out powerful melodies. Every track is a winner, proving that incredible art can be accomplished in the arena of popular songcraft.
Related artist(s): Debora Petrina
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more