Clear some space in your schedule for a fully immersive, impressive showing. Clocking in at around an hour (though it doesn’t feel very much like it once you get into it), you’re going to want to make sure you have no interruptions before settling into i’Anson’s debut album In Chances of Light, a real treat for the senses.
There is no easy way to describe the sound of this album, as a large part of the overall charm lies within the unpredictability, not only from song to song, but from bar to bar within each song. Also noteworthy are the sheer selection of instruments and sound effects put in use here. You’re likely to find everything from beautiful piano interludes (see the opener, “Your Halo”) to haunting operatic vocals, to clear acoustic guitar and nature sounds in between.
Speaking of the vocals, they are most poignant in “Fire Mercy Be,” arguably the strongest and most dramatically pressing song on the album. This particular song seems to have contrast as a theme, incorporating low male vocals pressing forward over a prominent dragging bass line with high female operatic vocals and high pitched gallops of a trumpet. This is one of those songs that leaves you feeling like your chest is being drowned in quicksand, and it’s a satisfying experience.
There are also songs like “How Strongly I Felt,” which could have come straight from any classic movie soundtrack. Here, the nature sounds are most notable, though the lyrics are incredibly rich as well. There is even an accessible, radio-type song present in “Summer of My Soul,” which features a more general verse/chorus structure than the other songs.
If the vocals aren’t quite your style, there are a few interludes here, such as “The Light Keeper,” a comforting but heavy piano piece that serves as a great mid-album break.
Having listened to the full album, I hesitate to refer to this as anything less than a compositional masterpiece. Having the presence of an ensemble clearly takes this unique sound to the next level. Deep below the bellowing drums and twinkling triangle lie the bare fundamentals of jazz, classical, and blues, enhanced and evolved by the musical creativity of today. Listening to the whole album reminded me of the immersive experience of seeing a live symphony orchestra, a feat not easily replicated nor common today. This was really nice to listen to, and a great showing for a debut. Who knows what heights this band can reach in the future!
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