Having charted new territory with her first album Hashgachah, and its ‘sophisticated soul-bearing vision’, Jarmila Gorna is now pushing her own musical boundaries even further. The critics were so dazzled by her genre-defying album, that it was cited for nomination by the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. With Hashgachah reviewers struggled for words to describe the indescribable – rather appropriate for an album of wordless songs. Kate Bush, Chick Corea, Ennio Morricone, ‘an entire Bulgarian choir’, ‘The Beach Girls’ were just some of the comparisons made.
Where do you go from there?
Gorna's new album is the elegantly named 'Aspaklaria' (Aramaic for ‘clear lens’). This time, inspired by a lifetime’s spiritual quest for Hebraic mysticism, self-penned lyrics poured forth. ‘My songs on Aspaklaria are songs of love and fear, of one's personal shattering and self-reconstructing, of questions asked and perhaps answers given, of getting connected and staying connected, of reaching to the heavens and reaching for the stars'. Wanting to push beyond the luxury and safety of the abstract, Jarmila is gathering the clouds into concrete form.
All the things reviewers liked most in the debut album are still present. The magic of her almost extraterrestrial voice and the emotionally gripping way she uses it - combined this time with contemporary beats, electronic sounds, stirring grooves and refreshingly unexpected song structures.
Aspaklaria is almost single-handedly the work of one woman – written, performed, produced and engineered by a true ‘Polly Math'! She is assisted by the inimitable David Farren, founder member of Bad Manners. Farren also created the album artwork and graces the music with his electric guitar brushstrokes. The music was recorded in her studio which was originally set up with the kind assistance of old friend and mentor, Philip Bagenal of Eastcote Studios (Adele's ‘21’). Mixed by Grammy award-winning engineer Matt Lawrence (Mumford & Sons' ‘Babel’), mastered by the multiple Grammy-nominated Stuart Hawkes (Amy Winehouse's ‘Back to Black’, Lorde's ‘Pure Heroine’). Larry Holcombe added his production flair.
You may hear pop crossover, trip-hop, rock or a grime vibe, or detect warped echoes of drum & bass or deep house, and an occasional bass wobble… phew!... but Jarmila Gorna once again eludes all attempts at easy classification. All those eager for fresh musical experiences will not want to miss out on this. Here is a multi-talented artist in her element doing what she likes best.
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