2 Dec 2022
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Christine White - Single Review: Taken

08 Nov 2022 // A review by Dr Mark Baynes

Acclaimed music maker, Christine White, released a lush new single Taken on October 27th. The second single and video from her upcoming multifaceted release, The Raven Project due for release on November 24th 2022, is an epic collaboration with over fifty musicians and artists including legendary composer John Psathas.

Taken, an eight and a half minute song, was written 8 years ago by White. Though written on guitar, the song had always been envisioned in the style of the lush ballad arrangements akin to those of classic recordings like Billie Holiday and orchestra.

Ok so now about the music. My suggestion is to close your curtains, turn off the lights and immerse yourself into this sonic space, just for a moment. I promise it will be worth it. John Psathas' arrangement, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, and White's compositional style serve to challenge what it means to write a song, not just in terms of length (especially these days), but also in terms of texture, harmony, and ambition.

I could talk about my favourite moments, like the surprising move from Am to A major 26 seconds into the piece, musical prosody created by the harp with an arpeggiatic flourish over the word 'flamboyantly' at 45 seconds, unison glissandi by the string section 1m28 over 'stop pushing yourself away' (and other counterpoint heard in the strings). I could talk about the combination of diatonic harmony and secondary dominants, diminished chords, and surprising functional movement. I could talk about different parts of the orchestra holding the groove like the vibraphone (1m10s), piano (2m38s), harp (2m52s), then eventually the rhythm section at 5m08s. I could talk about the using of mixture of swung and straight groves heard together on occasion, and other tasteful polyrhythm, and string nuances that seem to arrive from nowhere. I could talk about the sense of journey that this piece provides, the relaxed assuredness that allows the message of a love gone wrong to be played out so assuredly and build so beautifully. But, if I talked about all of that too much then it might spoil the music, so instead of reading this why don't you go and listen to Taken, and let it take you on a journey, like it did with me, and maybe check out the album when it comes out later on this month.

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

Releases

Raven
Year: 2022
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Dr Mark Baynes

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