Time to get lost in a dreamy world of exotic flowers and sweet fragrances that arrive via soft and sweeping winds from far away. Ana Balka brings her listeners beautifully dynamic folk music with an international twist on her cleverly named album Eight Tracks, surprisingly that grants listeners eight chances to be tantalized.
Some of the songs within the album are void of vocals and are interesting compositions of instrumental sounds or ambient sound clips. “Your Heaven” is the opening track and really sets the right mood for the rest of the album. We as listeners are introduced to this magical world characterized by a fluttering flute that seems to dance on endlessly. This voiceless song makes me effortlessly visualize a realm of princesses, dragons and knights clad in shining armor. Another instrumental track “City” is a fun one to listen to and far more contemporary yet somewhat dualistic. The sound of the instruments is “classical” in nature and the juxtaposition of modern city sounds like cars, bicycles and trains makes your mind do a flip.
Moving along to a track with vocals “Crutches” again starts off with a dreamy guitar chord and trance-like flute. There is some international flair as I feel a bit of a Spanish style laden in the guitar chord. Soon we are introduced to Balka’s sweet voice and she softly asks us, “what did you wish for, did it come true, did it fade to the back like so many memories you knew?” This song is soaked with beautiful poetic and metaphorical lyrics; it’s almost like hearing a poem or ballad transcribed into musical form.
Sound quality on the album is a bit raspy and could be a tad clearer. Nonetheless the sound and style comes through and it is quite a pleasure to listen to the unique music within Eight Tracks. It is truly a treat to listen to the sweet flutes, soft and intriguing guitars, and dynamic instrumental tracks within this collection produced by Ana Balka. Anyone interested in avant-garde folk music (who isn’t?) will greatly enjoy Eight Tracks.
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