Thursday, September 07, 2006

Carla Werner -- Pure Things in Wild Places

by Frank Gualtier -- 09/07/06, 09/09/06

Carla Werner -- Pure Things in Wild PlacesIf anyone wondered what has been up to for the past three years the question has been answered by her newly released 'Pure Things in Wild Places'.

It is here on her second full length release, following an initial , that she displays true ascendancy to a new and fully higher plane of creative existence.

She's always been a good and . But she excels beyond her self on both counts with PTIWP and exhibits stunning skill with arrangement. In the latter regard I'm particularly enthused about what she's done with strings. Simple yet rich and full of elegance and the magic of s that stick but don't overpower those of the vocal .

The layering of sounds is seamless and masterful and comes across as an extension of emotion rather than a technical feat. She becomes her music and her music sits itself before you as a person would with words to tell and the experience is made personal.

In the technical zone she has truly found her voice. It's still the same distinct and charming Carla but she's grown into an incredibly dynamic and patient style. She explores the upper and lower regions of her voice and makes an embedded art form of measured lingering and thoughtful melodious interlude. She also shows her skill and experience in the spectrum she explores. I've loved her voice for a long time but here is a creature anew -- an old soul quickened -- and I have to say she takes the breath out of me for how beautiful she sounds.

Some songs such as 'Driftwood' and 'For The Moon' have haunting string accompaniment that weeps in some manner of lament. Context is 9/10th's of perception and such sounds can be as easily relatable to the old west era as to old or . Carla strikes me as a bit ambiguous on this as simply the name 'Driftwood' conjures in my mind the west yet 'For The Moon' makes use of strings in a more mournful fashion and takes me back further in time to roots an ocean away.

One of the biggest champions of the Irish sound for the past two decades has been (Eithne Ní Bhraonáin) and intended or not I do hear a shade of Enya in portions of the album. The dosage is wafer thin but distinct.

This album not only shows tremendous growth but it contains a diversity of style. Along with what I just mentioned there's a distinct and well executed sound to the song 'Edge Of Joy', a more standard / feel to 'Into The Night' and 'Dovetails', a traditional folk ambiance to 'Love Comes Down', and an sound to 'June'.

My favorite track on the album is 'Ghost Road'. Carla's vocals are pure, surreal, and haunting in a kind of way. The lyrics are, as with all on this album, poetic enough to stand alone -- but with the music the effect is all consuming:

"The road is haunted
With ghosts, time gone by
They lie and linger
as I go by

A ship is waiting to take me home
A light is shining leading me on

I'm told of places
We go when we go
The past golden faces
Steal away to unknown shores

Archangel Michael standing by the door
He calls to me, I cannot go"

I've transcribed this song -- check here for the chords.

'Pure Things in Wild Places' is Carla Werner's finest achievement -- an absolute masterpiece -- and is one of the best albums of 2006.

Links for Carla Werner:
Pure Things in Wild Places
Pure Things in Wild Places
carla werner ep
carla werner ep

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