â€œSongs of Ascentâ€ starts out with â€œModah Aniâ€, a track that has a contemporary sound, albeit one that is tinted with a Middle Eastern flow. When Wilsonâ€™s vocals begin, they operate more as an additional instrument instead of going forth and furthering a narrative. This shift in the role of the vocals represents just one of many things that Wilson changes and does differently on â€œSongs of Ascentâ€, an album that stands out due to the uniqueness of its character. “Eil Na R’fa Na Lah” has a heavy flute and piano presence to its opening, before Wilsonâ€™s vocals give listeners something more tangible with which to grip on. Wilsonâ€™s heavenly vocals have a classic feel to them: one, after listening to the track, could easily envision Wilson singing in 1608 as much as she fits singing in 2008.
Where there seems to be a division made with current artists between the vocal and the instrumental, Wilsonâ€™s blending of the two distinct segments creates something that is fresh and exciting. There may not be a driving drum beat or guitars shredding their way through the tracks on â€œSongs of Ascentâ€, but the intricate vocal arrangements that are par for the course on â€œSongs of Ascentâ€ will get listeners excited and eagerly anticipating the next track. â€œPitchu Liâ€ opens up with a piano line that sets the mode for the track, leading in to Wilsonâ€™s vocals. The vocals and piano walk hand in hand, each bolstering the other to a higher level than would normally occur.
Where a number of the tracks on â€œSongs of Ascentâ€ have a 17th-century feel to them, â€œPitchu Liâ€ elicits comparisons to the Renaissance period. The piano line expands upon that sound, adding a pinch of Tori Amos influence to the overall composition, creating yet another reason for listeners to pick up â€œSongs of Ascentâ€. â€œSongs of Ascentâ€ touch upon the past, present, and even future in music, with each subsequent track on the album adding to the rich tapestry that Wilson and her band began with â€œModah Aniâ€. If you are a fan of classical music, make it a point to pick up â€œSongs of Ascentâ€ when it is released September 13th; if you are in the El Paso area, check her web site to see if you can attend any of her live performances.
Top Tracks: Adonai Oz, Shir Chadash
Ellen M. Wilson â€“ Songs of Ascent / 2008 Self / 10 Tracks / http://www.ellenmwilson.com /