Album Review

Public Speaking – “Blanton Ravine” – [Fabrica Records]

Naysayer   2/14/2016   A Library, CD

Jason Anthony Harris is Public Speaking, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, creator of Fabrica Records'”Blanton Ravine”. Thirteen songs created by Harris tell strange and mysterious tales. It’s not always clear, which may be intentional and that is good, adding to the moods. Harris uses a variety of percussion, synth, organ, piano, guitars, radio, processing and vocoder, as well as five other musicians and vocalists, to create the setting for his scenes. The first song, “Kipple Chamber”, starts off very quiet and then a rhythm is established but the listener is uncertain if the CD is skipping or not. It’s not and that awkward “skip becomes the beat driving the song. Pauses come about. A piano key is struck. Sounds continue. This is the lay out of the whole album: very well thought out instrumentation with a variety of percussion setting specific moods to take the listener on a journey. I really liked one moment where the sound of a chain being pulled guided a song into a new feeling. Creepy, disturbing but alluring. Also driving electronics, almost harsh, which sway in and out of each number. Many other reviews keep mentioning a blues quality. Hmmm. Well maybe but this is not the South. This is urban territory. Harris’ voice is very unique but one I can not quite get a handle on. It throws me every time I listen, surprising me and making me listen closer. There is a Scott Walker quality to it that I appreciate. It definitely fits in with all that Public Speaking is doing: not taking an easy path to create some very creative songs, actual songs, that don’t really fit a category. It’s not pop but how grand if pop sounded like this. It’s not cabaret but how grand if cabaret sounded like this. It’s harsh and soft and odd and ever changing. Nicely done.

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