I am in a place where everything moves in a dream-like pace while emotions come rushing in plenitude; a place where it is easy to be aware of everything around me yet the only thing I can focus on is my thoughts. In a sense, I have been caught in a trance where the ambience is overwhelming and messages are relayed coyly through mood and music. I am in a part of me that is seldom visited unless caused by a stimulus as deep and as thoughtful as the subject that is causing this unexpected visit to the artistic side of my brain.
Tonight however, I am crashing in the world of the arts and letting go of everything logical because I have chosen to write a review of Alessandra de Rossi’s latest project, an Electronica/Chillout album. It is that type of album; one that makes you drop everything and really listen.
In the part of me that still understands logic (as it is not always easy to fully switch back to the logical side of your brain once you have been drenched in the arts for x number of hours) I realize that the primary reason why this album, Adrift, has the ability to immerse its listener into a world where nothing makes sense, and everything is measured by emotion, is because it was made purely by the artistic side of the brain.
And that is probably what sets this album apart. Adrift, for many considerations, does not follow the mould of “sure-fire hits”. It does not sound like any other OPM album, and does not talk about cheesy love. It does not follow the traditional music flow, and unlike most OPM songs, it makes use of ambiance and mood to create a story and a denouement instead of relying on high notes.
If you plan to listen to the album just to find out how good a singer the multi-awarded actress is, you might be surprised, because this is not an album that plays strongly on vocal proficiency; and that is probably its greatest strength. It does not try to highlight the singer’s voice for the sole reason that this was not made by a vocalist; it is an album of artistic elegance rather than of vocal gymnastics. As the songwriter, composer, singer, and producer of the album, Alessandra’s first musical foray feels much like a proper, beautiful book. A true masterpiece.
You see, great books do not rely on the ability of the writer to use big words or their grammatical proficiency. Truly great books rely on their ability to make the reader feel something, realize something, experience something, and immerse themselves totally in the text. In many ways, this album achieves that.
The reason why I say that this is a product born almost completely from the artistic side of the brain is because it does not follow the backbone of popular music; it does not even follow conventional musical counts. Sometimes, the vocals come chiming in after an instrumental introduction that only lasts a bar. Sometimes the song ends abruptly. Sometimes, the vocals play second fiddle to the beat. Sometimes the vocals even act as added percussions. Sometimes a song dedicates a full thirty seconds for the introduction just to put the listener in the proper mood to really understand the message that is enveloped in the lyrics. And sometimes the accompaniment is filled with too many elements that your auditory is overwhelmed and you are left with no choice but to stop and truly experience the song.
Even the way it is released or promoted veers away from convention. The album is free to download for everyone (visit facebook.com/adriftalessandraderossi) and does away with mall shows or televised interviews and relies solely on social networking accounts for promotions.
Because the musical genre is not something a lot of us have been accustomed to, the experience may leave us in a pensive or confused mood, depending on the person listening. Admittedly, it is not for everybody. It is a genre that grows on you; somewhat of an acquired taste. Adrift is, in many ways, not made for mass consumption. It is a work of art, one made to fulfil the artist’s need for expression rather than sell copies. It may never get the airplay it deserves, may never climb the charts, or may never be heard in clubs.
But maybe that is not even important. Like many wonderful works of art, the album moves you to think, it moves you to feel, it moves you to experience it and be immersed in it, and makes you want to do it all over again once all the eleven tracks are done. Maybe what is really important is that it manages to move you at all. Whether you enjoy the sound or not, the fact that it makes you debate with yourself is testament of true artistic work. And for a debut album, that is definitely noteworthy.