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Living Jane CD - 'Living Jane'

From: Geraldine Jones
Category: Music
Date: 07 September 2005


Living Jane - 'Living Jane'

Reviewer: Geraldine Jones

What the hell is Canadian ambient improv rock? That was the question on my mind when I thought I would call Living Jane's record label in Vancouver to request a copy for review. As if my music journalist career needed any more obscurity, I thought. So into investigator mode I went....

Scouring the usual music portals and online services I couldn't find a thing. Except Limewire came up with a snippet of a video. This should be good for a giggle I think as Windows Media Player 'connects to media'. And there she is in all her splendour. Although it looks like she's doing a cover version shot live in a studio somewhere. She has an almost vampire quality to her I think as I admire her snarling and full length leather coat. Looks like itís an all live performance in the studio. And there's about 10 of them. Yikes. Enduring imagery. Everywhere.

So the next day or two were interesting. With my new found Canadian imagery bouncing around inside my head. Then my Trusty FedEx man showed up. Yup, from Canada. But Iím late for work so I shove it in my laptop case and jump in the car. Once safely on the main road, Living Jane finds its way into the CD player.

And this is unlike anything else I have ever heard. A little birdie told me that this was an Ďexperimentalí album but I wasnít prepared for this. The first track ĎVoice Remain Freeí opens with an almost Kate Bush atmosphere and overtones of Annie Lennox, but no. Thatís not it either. This is somehow different. But how? In places it sounds almost electropop but then gets heavy with synth lines and guitars, and then light and breezy again. The melodies interweave, the music seems to transform behind the vocals into shapes, and then change again. Huh? All this without even a cup of coffee. This first track has now haunted me enough to pull over and purchase the very same.

Caffeine-bound I resume the journey as the second track, Denied Contact, filters into my head. Iím unaware that itís Living Jane. It sounds like a Pink Floyd song to me. Iím thinking large stadium light shows and severe ambience all round. Iím away with the musical fairies. And then some prat cuts me off in the centre lane and I have to restart my vibe. Bloody idiot. Iíll save Denied Contact for later, I think to myself. Precious vibe, precious vibe.

And then ĎI Remember the Holyí takes over. Jeez can this girl sing. She must have at least a four octave range and then some. And the flamenco guitars and the subject matter remind me of castanets, and all of a sudden itís Living Jane in a fight against the Devil himself. I nearly have a collision as Iím lost in hyperbole, and I decide Iíd better review the latter half of this album from home. But, at first glance, if ambient is your thing, and you like real musicians playing real instruments a la festivals, with deep meaningful lyrics, this is world class stuff to you. I would suggest you sit down when listening to this for the first time as it packs a punch. I wonder if these guys are related to Pink Floyd or Kate Bush?

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