vrijdag 24 januari 2014
Listen, the snow is falling (EP). Labasheeda
Nothing prepared me for the soft tones reaching my ear. Folk, traditional US type string sounds, the ukulele, banjo, type of strings and modesty. The title song of the EP is, of all things, a Yoko Ono cover. It is a hesitant kind of song, so modest. A melodica? carries a small, recurring melody and two guitars accompany the quiet voice of Saskia van der Giessen. As the EP was released in December last, Listen, the snow is falling can be seen as a Christmas EP, were it not that the other songs do not really have any connotation to the Yuletide.
The first thing that came to mind was Nico, the German singer and actress Christine Päffgen, when she still had something resembling a voice in 1967. Saskia van der Giessen has the same sort of holding back quality in her voice. This notion disappeared listening to Listen, the snow is falling more often. If only because her voice is so much more pleasant to listen to than Nico's. Another voice coming to mind is the vulnerable sound of Portishead's Beth Gibbons. Musically Mazzy Star is a reference, the name Belly comes up, although I haven't listened to one of its records for years, so may be wrong here and the quiet side of The Velvet Underground.
Labasheeda is around since 2004. Through the years there have been several personnel changes. Saskia van der Giessen is around since the beginning, Her main partner is Arne Wolfswinkel who is in the band since 2006. They are currently working on a new album. Drummer Bas Snabilie complements the trio that has a few (split)singles, EPs and a LP to its name. Not that a lot of percussion can be found on this EP, as if in none. Where necessary the bass snare of a guitar picks up some percussive playing.
The music on Listen, the snow is falling sounds promising. The music is kept small in a (near) acoustic setting. For this to work, something of interest needs to be going on in the songs. It is here that Labasheeda surprises me in a pleasant way. The wavy way of singing keeps me on my toes. Not every note goes the way my ear expects it, wants it, to go. It is the little guitar notes popping up here and there that draw me into the playing. The other instruments that are introduced during a song make it more interesting. A violin, an electric guitar, the ukelele or an organ. 'Black blood', the third song, is built up this way. From acoustic guitars to new layers that are added to the texture of this song. The softly rippling instrumental 'Different places' and the ukulele song 'Elastic' complement the EP. Both are again fine tunes to listen to, no matter how small they are kept. 'Elastic' most likely is a great song in whatever arrangement it is played.
If you are looking for excitement, fast, then Listen, the snow is falling is not your kind of EP. Should you be looking for an EP that allows you to slowly be seduced, this music is what you are looking for. A ride on the slowtrain, with all the time of the world on your side to emerge in Listen, the snow is falling. Labasheeda allowed me to take a peak into its music, for which I thank it here and now.
You can buy Listen, the snow is falling here and listen to 'My instincts' here.