Sunday, October 13, 2013
Kristi Lane Sinclair Interview , and a review of her mystical disk,The Sea Alone
The Sea Alone is the title, not only of Kristi Lane Sinclair’s second album, but of the opening and closing tracks. Already, the waves are rolling in on you. Each one a finger, a thumb washing over acoustic guitar strings, the rhythm comes ringing, with herring gulls screeing, waiting for the voice: we hear it first as a purr, but then the listening transforms it to an approaching nimbus, whispering of warnings. Each gust spells out traces of streets with empty endings while a somber cello mixes all the colours into brown smears and garbage can drums roll and crash down basement staircases. Think we better go inside?
And that’s just the first song! Everywhere Kristi Lane takes us there are caution ribbons that signal a malicious potential, snapping in the wind. She is a bellwether of the immanent threat. The emotional atmosphere that her voice creates both conceals and reveals her meanings, and complicates any attempt at casual listening. The fierceness of the record grows. Subsequent tracks will enclose her murmur in a high voltage percussion cage with clattering razor wires of electro guitar. Are they there to protect the singer or you?
Vulnerability is her dodge. She is on the attack. Every song presents an immediate puzzle to the ear. Her melodies sometimes run cross current to the guitar; a minor chord in “Mandoline” is obfuscated by a disturbing low sixth in the voicing; when she mounts the bass line into the stratosphere on “What Does That Mean?,” an F-bomb drops suddenly with well-aimed contempt; final notes of phrases slur into a signature atonality – until the penny drops – she may have been just talking to you all along, in a recitation, with hints of musicality thrown in to coddle your acceptance of her meanings and motives. “What does that mean?” she asks in a song. Good luck with that. The words are not incantatory, but detailed messages. Pay attention. “I’m sorry doesn’t mean anything”, she concludes in the next track.
Although she rightly claims grunge/classical parentage, Kristi Lane Sinclair is also an invader of the territories of the English folk song tradition. A suggestion of a British accent in her voice sharpens her lyrical slice. Her long words challenge your patience and your attentions. While she’s taking careful aim at your arteries with serrated word play and a surprise barrage of scissor spit in the rockers “Oh Boy” and “Three of Hearts,” the hazy drift of Cris Derksen’s cello, the reassuring harmonies of Christa Couture, Joy Mullen’s forthright, well-mixed drumming, the acoustic guitar’s warmth, and even the uniquely-designed embrace of the cardboard sleeve design combine to make a package of graceful self-agreement. Ms. Sinclair’s irreconcilable longings affect you, ultimately, with empathy for her serene faith in making use of her articulation to hinder their powers over her. And the waves roll out again.
As a result of the tremendous artistry of the record, and a few intriguing videos (watch them below) the record is being greeted enthusiastically. Says Kristi: “’The Sea Alone’ has been doing quite well. For me, it almost feels like cheating. When I asked for advice from a mentor years ago about making it in the music industry he said ‘Make a great record and you won’t have to do anything’. I think that’s what ‘Sea Alone’ did. I had the best band, producer and production team getting behind songs that I felt so strongly about and since then, it’s been nothing but good news. With a June release I was still able to secure several festival spots (Aboriginal Music Week Winnipeg, Victory Square Block Party, Vancouver BC, Peachfest, Penticton and Spirit Within in Whistler). The album has charted in Vancouver and Ontario and received several promising reviews (Georgia Straight, CBC, BC Musician Magazine) and show requests keep coming in.”
Kristi Lane Sinclair is a nominee in the Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year category at theCanadian Folk Music Awards this year. What kind of feelings does she have about this momentous recognition? “I just found out! My friends all texted me and told me. It made a great way to wake up! I hope to showcase or build a show around the awards ceremony. This is in the early stages. Between now and the awards I am basically just taking a break from being on the road to plan the next tour and apply for grants. Collaboration is high on the list (teaser!) And of course, winning would be huge; but at this point I am overwhelmed by the recognition of our album. It’s self-released, and we are proud to see that it has a life of its own.” The winners will be revealed in Calgary on November 10th. Stay tuned to Roots Music Canada for more backgrounds and further updates.
Kristi Lane Sinclair Bio:
Raised on grunge in the backwaters of British Columbia, singer-songwriter Kristi Lane Sinclair’s musical roots are reflected in her sophomore album The Sea Alone. It is an intoxicating mix of grunge, folk and classical. Grunge and classical you say? Yes, grunge and classical, Kristi growls back. In her low, hard-edged vocals, Kristi sings about heartbreak, great loves and the sea on her latest album.
Growing up Oceanside in Prince Rupert, B.C., with family roots in Masset, Haida Gwaii, it is no wonder Kristi finds healing in open waters. “It is what I turn to when everything else turns to shit,” she says. For Kristi, waters provide her energy and she feels it is the one thing she can constantly depend on and that is reflected in the moody The Sea Alone.
A Canadian Folk Music Award nominee for her first album I Love You, Kristi calls on her good friend cellist Cris Derksen to provide doleful accompaniment on The Sea Alone. Mixed with her own searing guitar lines, Kristi’s sound is conducive to coffee shops, folk festivals and to the Seattle-set television show Grey’s Anatomy – which is known for discovering cutting-edge music.
Catch Kristi on tour throughout North America in 2013. For more information check outkristilanesinclair.com.