Artist/ Band: Helen Davey & Brigitte Meyer
Title: Trans-Lations
Label: Self release
Year of Release: 2012
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Third release by Helen Davey brings us a cross arts project that is meant to morph across multiple art mediums (photo/music/video/installation). Paired with an additional musician named Brigitte Meyer (cello, voice, and guitar), Helen uses voice, prepared piano, accordion, and percussion. Although it is improvised it is unique in that with ‘Trans-Lations’ each song is a response to a photograph by Swiss photographer Ruth Stadelmann. Whereas Helen's first recording 'From Another Room'-2007, a totally solo work which had a peaceful meditative and highly atmospheric approach, and her second release ('Carvings') was a full ensemble with art pop leanings and highly composed lyrics and song, this third offering involves a duo, and stands all on it's own. The music has range with more avant and dissonance than her previous music. In fact, fans of avant garde and all around RIO styles will be interested and happy with this. The first track ("Hidden Wishes") is a three minute experimental work using both bowed and plucked cello, percussion. The second cut uses cello, jaw harp, voice, mouth effects, and varied percussion again, in the sporadic avant mode. We have a different sound on track three ("Lost in Time") with brooding accordion, bowed and plucked cello, this time creating a more melodic and classical presence, and it's pretty. As said, the recording moves across a good deal of terrain, and would also attract fans of Meredith Monk, Dagmar Krause and possibly Zeena Parkins. ‘Trans-Lations’ also contains some song oriented pieces such as “Recollections “ (track six), a beautiful piano composition in a grand classical fashion. Lovers of avant opera will have much to love with “The Diva's Ghost - Lament to a Car Wreck" (track 9).

While this CD is by far the most challenging to listen to ( and this is only a warning to commercial music lovers and standard fare listeners - but not sure why any of them are reading this review anyway *l*) it is without a doubt meant to be heard sitting down with full attention and no distractions. Any who like my references will like this, rest assured. Both artists produce high quality imaginative multi dimensional music.

After giving all three of Helen’s releases multiple listens and writing about them, I remain impressed with the width and height that this brilliant musician covers. Possibly the most opposite of any trio of releases by any artist I have ever heard. And the trick is, they are all totally excellent! ‘Trans-Lations’ is by far the most adventurous and daring but one word could describe it: BRILLIANT! Highly Recommended for the avant lovers in the progressive music world.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on January 13th, 2014


01. Hidden Wishes (3:10)
02. Beetle in the Skyscraper (1:42)
03. Lost in Time (3:51)
04. Intense Reflections (5:30)
05. Life in a Bottle (1:43)
06. Recollections (2:40)
07. Mittagshitze (3:57)
08. Spooky Box (2:11)
09. The Diva's Ghost "Lament to a Car Wreck" (4:46)
10. Transitions in the Alley (2:42)
11. New York Blues (1:05)
12. The Leaving (2:38)
13. New York, Old York (3:05)
14. Conversation With Matilda (2:54)
15. Tightrope (2:34)
16. Painting in a Frame (5:53)

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