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Aisha Burns - Life in the Midwinter

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 14 / 10 / 2013

Aisha Burns - Life in the Midwinter
Label: Western Vinyl
Format: CD


Fascinating but over melancholic and bleak debut solo album from Balmorhea violinist, Aisha Burns

Aisha Burns is probably best known as the violinist and occasional vocalist for Balmorhea, one of the shining lights of the already-glittering Austin scene.’ Life in the Midwater’ is her first solo album, and it’s a deep and sometimes melancholic affair. Burns has a fabulous voice, showcased here on the album’s opening track, ‘Sold’. A sparse and lilting affair, the song has a pared down production and a spacious feel, with a great vocal arrangement towards the end. It’s a good mood-setter for the album, in that Burns’ voice and vocals take centre-stage. The album really comes to life on second track, ‘Midwater’. Named for a deep layer of the ocean that flows below the surface, the song’s title and lyric suit are perfectly in sync. Lyrically, the piece, like “midwater” itself, has hidden depths, mixing biblical allusions and deeply personal issues of loneliness and love. Again, a sparse production allows the lyrics to come to the fore, reminiscent of Catherine McLellan or Lynn Miles. ‘Discerpo’, the album’s fifth track, is the stand-out for me. Its more involved production, and Burns’ deeper vocal combine to superb effect. The song has a distinctly Celtic feel, Burns’ vocal in places sounding not unlike Dolores O’Riordan. Overall, the album is a fascinating study of a clearly turbulent period in Burns’ life. That said, it lacks the dynamic of, say, Neil Young’s ‘On the Beach’ (the mood, I find is very similar). I enjoyed the album, but I came away from it soaked in the melancholic mood of the piece, rather than vitalised by it. ‘Life in the Midwater ‘is a rather bleak album, but that is not to say that it is without soul. It is simply one of those albums which reinforce a negative mood, rather than transforming it.

Track Listing:-
1 Sold
2 Midwater
3 Shelly
4 Gatekeeper
5 Discerpo
6 Requiem
7 Mine to Bear
8 Destroyer
9 Nothing

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