23 Apr 2024
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Christine White - Album Review: Raven

23 Nov 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

This multi-media project commenced in March 2020, and more than 2 ½ years later the release had come together with five songs (one of which is a remix of the opening title cut by electronic producer Paddy Free, so there are six tracks). These are accompanied by three music videos, and a book of short haiku-style poetry in two languages (English & Farsi), and there is no doubt that this has gained quite a deal of media interest, so yesterday I found myself listening to a very interesting interview with Christine White on RNZ. I have not seen the book, as I only have a digital copy of the album, but it promises to be fascinating. I am sure this is the only release I have ever been asked to review where one of the tracks is in Farsi, a language which Christine did not speak until the self-imposed lockdown, when she decided she was going to learn it. I have heard of people learning new skills or writing songs etc. during lockdown, and even of some learning languages, but she is the only person I know who has learned the official language of Iran.

However, that world view and interest is also prevalent in the music which has seen her collaborating not only with acclaimed composer John Psathas but with more than fifty musicians to achieve the sonic outcome she was looking for. She made the comment in the interview yesterday that she is the only constant between all the songs, and it is certainly incredibly varied, all rooted in her strong clear vocals. In fact, they are all so different that it is hard to pick a favourite, but it is difficult indeed to move past Starless Rivers which is sublime. The interaction between a pumping rhythm section, nylon guitar (which sounds as if it is a harp), clarinet, jazz and orchestral style sounds all linked by her voice is remarkable, and musically very different indeed to the rest of this album. At times it feels modern and aimed at the radio, at others it is far more experimental, and the way to get the best out of this is to play it on headphones with no preconceptions whatsoever and just let it wash over you. Christine’s vocals are a delight, and she has given both herself and the musicians to work with freedom (under her guidance) to produce a piece of art which has both great depth and great beauty.

Rating: ( 4 / 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
Pirouette
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Pure White
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Live At Helen Young Studio
Year: 1993
Type: Album

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