Valeria Matzner: Anima

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Looking at the package for this album by the Uruguayan-born Canadian musician Valeria Matzner one might be tempted to think that the eight songs constitute a rather short track list. But it certainly does not feel that way even though six of the songs come in at just under five minutes apiece, making Anima just under forty minutes. The reason? You will forget about it all once the music starts. Each of these songs are superbly crafted into little musical gems buffed and polished not only by Miss Matzner, who has written all but one, sharing credit for four with pianist Scott Metcalfe and writing “Illusión”, “Cor” and “Lua Cheia” herself. Moreover, the hushed and sophisticated acoustic gives Miss Matzner’s voice a burnished glow that is truly outstanding.

The album features beautifully crafted arrangements of mesmeric variety and sensuousness, in every lovingly-crafted phrase including the one entitled “For My Father”, which actually has no words and is sung in the most breathtaking vocalise. Listening to the way in which Miss Matzner seductively bends the notes here, often sculpting their long and sustained inventions, it’s clear that there’s not a semiquaver that hasn’t been fastidiously considered. Also, featured everywhere is the music’s co-conspirator, Scott Metcalfe along with bassist Scott Kemp and drummer Max Senitt along with formidable Toronto musicians Luis Deniz on saxophone, Alexander Brown on trumpet, Aleksandar Gajic on violin, Juan Carlos Medrano on percussion and the admirable Odin String Quartet.

Each of the musicians is completely in tune with Miss Matzner’s artistic vision. This is reflected not only in the title of the record: Anima, but in the very music itself, which is a gorgeously translucent reflection of Miss Matzner, emerging as an anthropomorphic archetype; blossoming into the inner vibrancy and vitality that works its way into that “certain something” prevalent in all of this wonderful music. And so, whether evocative of long wistful nights in Brasil, or the glorifying of an Uruguayan landscape that mixes beauty with danger; or whether it’s just part of a beautiful dream in anywhere else in South America, it’s all in the brilliance of each vignette that becomes part of a musical journey across a faraway topographic ocean, brought home to us by a wonderful singer.

Track list – 1: Contemporáneo; 2: Illusión; 3: De Amor Y Soledad; 4: For My Father; 5: Lotus Flower; 6: Cor; 7: Broken Landscapes; 8: Lua Cheia

Personnel – Valeria Matzner: all vocals; Scott Metcalf: piano and keyboards; Scott Kemp: contrabass; Max Senitt: drums; Luiz Deniz: saxophone (2, 7, 9); Alexander Brown: trumpet (2, 7); Aleksandar Gajic: violin (1, 4); Juan Carlos Medrano: percussion (1, 2, 6); Odin String Quartet – Alex Toskov: violin; Tanya Charles: violin; Laurence Schaufele: viola; Sam Bisson: cello (3)

Released – 2018
Label – Triplet Records
Runtime – 35:33

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