My favourite art comes with imperfections. Sure, I enjoy things that are meticulous and perfectly ordered. Symmetry and things containing patterns are calming. But, when it comes to art, I prefer the type of order that is achieved through the flawed, the gritty, the imperfect, the messy, the vulnerable. Marian Call’s newest album Sketchbook is brimming with many such nuances, resulting in an album filled with heartfelt truths and an abundance of warmth. The result is splendid.
For me, reviewing music is difficult. Music speaks to me in ways other forms of art are incapable. A simple musical phrase can cause my insides to swell, bringing me to tears. The only other art form that can easily evoke an emotional response is dance.
Marian Call has amazing talent. Not only does she possess a ranging vocal ability, the music she creates comes from a place containing varied emotion, writing mutli-layered lyrics that not only entertain, but are bound to speak to a wide range of experiences. Every album Marian has released to date has contained at least one song that speaks to me on a level beyond rational understanding, reaching deep inside the dark corners of my heart that are seldom touched. Sketchbook deserves some extra bonuses in this area because of the story behind the creation of this album.
The songs were recorded outside of a studio, in the houses of people nice enough to give Marian a venue, and a home, during her crazy touring schedule. She recorded them while sick, while hurried, while tired. She recorded them with love, not only for her art, but out of love for the people who support her endeavours, and because the songs need live. Because someone out there might need them.
These are simply songs. Songs I thought someone out there might need. Not big enough for the next studio album, yet too good to go unheard.
— Marian Call (@mariancall) December 1, 2013
My favourite song from Sketchbook is “Hope.” Marian performed it during my wedding reception. Before that performance and since that performance, I have heard the song many times. It was one of those songs with which I instantly feel in love. Her live performances have always been something special. However, those live performances have nothing on the raw, vulnerable and unfeigned recording heard on this album.
There is a quality about Sketchbook which reminds me of Beethoven’s middle period; a period filled with transformative music, covering a range of naked emotion, which manages to reach various facets of one’s soul. Unlike Marian’s other albums, which are thematic in some ways, Sketchbook is filled with songs that are self-contained. Perhaps it is incorrect to say Sketchbook is without some sort of theme. The dark and vulnerable, yet hopefully, musical offerings; the emotion and thought behind this project, is thematic in and of itself.
Give Sketchbook a listen. The wonderful thing about selling music via Bandcamp is that potential customers can listen to an album, in its entirely, before making a purchase.
Because I love this album so much, because I want to give a piece of what Marian has given me, via her music, to you, I am going to purchase a copy of Sketchbook for three people.
So, how can you win one of three copies of Sketchbook?
- Leave a comment. That’s it. If you want to make your comment interesting, answer the following: Name one song that hits you in that hard to reach spot in your soul?
- Only one comment per person. Leaving multiple comments will disqualify you. When leaving a comment, please use a valid e-mail address so that I can notify you if you win.
- You have until Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 23:59 PST to leave a comment. At that time, I’ll use a random number generator to select three winners. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Winners will be announced in the comments of this post on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 before 16:00 PST.
- If you have any questions, please e-mail me.