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Christine White - Single Review: Raven

14 Oct 2022 // A review by Trevor Faville

Christine White is an experienced and accomplished composer, with an impressive musical background. Raven is the first part of what is being described as a ‘multifaceted release’ called The Raven Project and is available on video and audio formats.

There is a lot to listen to in this song. White has invested considerable musical input into Raven, resulting in a sophistication that is apparent right from the off. There are many, many layers to explore.

A good starting point is the extremely fluent and musically sensitive bass and drum combo of Dan Antunovich and Steve Thomas, who add real character to this tune. A close listen to this aspect alone reveals sensitive and intelligent work from players who understand how to bring a tune to life, and have plainly been given musical license to do so.

The involvement of John Psathsas makes for an instrumentation that uses a wide palette of orchestral instruments with the high level of musical sensitivity and sophistication that one could realistically expect. Stylistically, There are hints of very early disco, with added influence of sixties - style TV and Movie composers added to some very ‘20th century’ timbres. Using musicians from Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra means that these parts are played with precision and feel. Throughout , this piece feels very ‘live’ in terms of the performances themselves.

As mentioned, there really is a lot to hear, here.

Over the top comes an assured vocal by White, which is absolutely in keeping with the qualities, style and depth of the arrangements. The melodic work has the same sophistication and detail-take a moment to consider how the backing vocals are arranged- that characterises the piece and develops to a satisfyingly majestic finale.

Structurally, this is a big piece, coming in at just over six and a half minutes. Old folks familiar with the early days of prog will know that in this context ,care is important. In Ravens’ case, White has cast a much wider net than the ‘alternating verse/chorus’ approach, to use the structural concepts from contexts like traditional Classical music where thematic material is presented and developed, and/or musical theatre, which uses a lyrical narrative as the key structural backbone. The clever touch comes in using the setting of an up tempo, genuinely funky groove - meaning that the changes in the song maintain something of an improvised feel .In this regard, Raven moves like a musical theatre ‘set piece’ (Cool from West Side Story springs to mind)- dynamic changes, lots of detail, and moving towards a satisfying and inevitable Big Finish.

As to lyrical content, the narrative element is apparent as a protagonist moves from one state to another - again reflecting perhaps more of a musical theatre approach, although White herself references more of a Poetic influence- citing the work of Joni Mitchell in particular.

Raven is a sophisticated, intelligent piece of music that is delivered with a musical sensitivity and assurance which means there are multiple rewards for multiple listeners. Its powerful musical statement of real depth..

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Christine White

The Raven Project, from Christine White, due for release on November 24th, began in March 2020 and is the result of 2 years work. The project release will culminate with 6 songs in digital and vinyl format (including a remix by esteemed electronic producer Paddy Free), accompanied by 3 music videos, and a book of short haiku-style poetry book in two languages (English & Farsi).

Christine White’s musical life began with extended family sing-alongs, and moved through the grandiose, evocative and purposeful melodies of the pentacostal Baptist movement, before visiting the raw, smoke-filled, beer-smelling couches of gay/lesbian festivals, hometown pubs and city cafes of 1990s New Zealand.

The harnessing of melody combined with a strong back-beat and the evocative twang of the electric guitar resulted in the Christine White band, an energetic three-piece that won the Gluepot Battle of the Bands and recorded both a single and never-to-be-released album at Revolver Studios, and gave a live to air performance through National Radio’s Helen Young Studio.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Christine White


Year: 2022
Type: Album
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Pure White
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Live At Helen Young Studio
Year: 1993
Type: Album

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