This is my first exposure to the artist known as Xanthe. I wasn't sure what to expect from reading her description on her site page. When I saw this song listed as jazz, I was a little cautious. I hear MANY artists on this site who refer to songs, or themselves, as jazz when they don't fit other categories or may have instruments used in jazz utilized in their music. Having said that let's look at "The Longer The Silence".
I like the overall feel of the song. It's NOT jazz, but it IS smoky, sultry, and sensuous. This song reminds me of some 60's soundtrack music to a French or Italian fim. That's good. There are a few areas that I diverged artistically with. The drum track and bass need some vareity and dynamics. The piano has an almost toylike quality to it. That may have been intended, but I thought it took away from the piece. I felt Xanthe must have access to better sounds because the bull fiddle that comes in is great and adds an ominous tone; the same with the oboe and strings that come in later-they add nice depth and richness and take the song up to a new level. The song doesn't have any changes in structure (of course, neither does most of "Bolero" by Ravel), so the strings bring a vastness to the song. Xanthe's vocals are subdued, yet sexy. Very breathy. I like it! I hear her in a smoky club and it paints a perfect picture for me. The lyrics are plaintive and lonely, almost claustrophobic in her suffering of the silence in the songs subject. Good job. I also like the ending of the song as it leaves you on the brink, somewhat offbalance. It ties in well with the lyrics and makes the listener wait for the other shoe to fall.
Overall, I like this artist. I going to check out her other songs and get a better feel for her voice. I think her song is good, the instrumentation is what holds it back for me. However, the voice and delivery...great stuff. I would love to hear Xanthe on some slow blues or jazz standards and hear her voice weave over some chord changes. But for now, this is a good place to start to hear a great vocalist and songwriter.
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