France, 1974, avant-folk
Magdalith – Magdalith: Magdalith has an amazing, unique voice, perfectly suited for avant-folk, for it equally frightens and excites. This is as freaky as the kind of vocals I like gets, and I cannot help but think that we are getting only the slightest peek into the soul of a Jewish woman scarred by the Holocaust and enamored of the Eucharist. The vocals set the piano on fire. This whole album feels like one big vocal experiment, pushing her voice to the limits of its perspicacity. Tracks 1 and 6 (the beginnings of Sides A and B) are sister tracks, songs that have only one instrument accompanying the vocals, the former a piano, the latter some kind of hand drum (sounds Middle Eastern – apologies for my untrained ear). All but two of the tracks are written by Magdalith. She works in quite a bit of ritualistic liturgical chanting of religious texts, creating a distinctly Hebrew atmosphere to the album.
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This album strikes me as … striking. It is beautiful and yet haunting, with the word “unforgettable” competing with “unique” for the best descriptor.
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