Currently living in Norway but raised in Japan, Sienna’s career started in 2005 with her debut EP ‘Ambience’ being released on Norwegian electronica-triphop label ‘Abon Records’. Since then the contemporary traditionalist has had her music licensed to ‘Phillips Electronics’ and even had one of her tracks pre-loaded onto Philips mp3 players and audio devices which were distributed worldwide. Sienna released the new album ‘Japonesque’ this September. They have also collaborated with the psychedelic legend from Norway Nils, Petter Molvaer and the late British legend Mick Karn, just to name a few.
Sienna brings an unrivalled organic warmth to her sound using a blurry contrast of multiple styles from Electronica and House to Jazz and Traditional Japanese. “Uniqueness” is the keyword they´ve received from 90% of all music reviewers.
On this latest release, Sienna has once again managed to create a diverse palette of songs that showcase their formidable electronic and arranging talents. Sienna has always been a little unpredictable in her song crafting; able to switch from the standard to the bizarre in a matter of seconds, and ‘Japonesque’ is no exception.
‘Japonesque’ is innovative and even ambitious without being snobbish. A very eclectic group of songs with more than a few fabulously creative beats to groove to. Sienna have created a sonic masterpiece that captures a style and atmosphere transcending time and place.
Spacey and rhythmic, this is a disc for dreamers, idealists and hopeless romantics who thought that song craft like this died in the upheaval of techno acts. I found that on closer inspection there was great complexity in the harmony and chord structures, Soothing vocals and fantastic sound combinations. I tend to find that the majority of albums that I hear are just a collection of songs, some better than others, but none the less – only a group of songs by an artist. ‘Japonesque’ doesn’t have that feel to it. It really holds together as an album.
I’ve also found that a lot of so-called chillout or downtempo electronic albums remain mainly at a slow tempo but occasionally have a crescendo of instruments or a mood change. Sienna have got a wonderful feel to their songs which remains a constant throughout the album, without small sections ruining the mood. For this reason it is difficult to pick out a particular track. This is one album that you can put on without wanting to skip tracks. Fantastic.
There just aren’t enough words to describe ‘Japonesque’s’ beauty. This is one of those albums that just sweeps you away into another world when you push play. The tranquility, comfort and soothing soundscapes will captivate your mind, tease your ears, and ultimately, keep you coming back for more. Every note on ‘Japonesque’ is perfectly timed. As far as construction, this album tops most albums within this genre that I’ve ever heard. There is a very cinematic feel to the album too.
Every track works cohesively with the next, making it a fantastic listen; all killer no filler as someone once put it. Standouts would include “Gion”, “Beauty”, “Ascension”, “Play” and the title track “Japonesque”. The music is very fluent and easy on the ears. This album is, of course, ultra-modern music, full of keyboard sounds and house beats. There are many references to Jazz and Funk, but they never overshadow the modern electronic aspect. In fact I can see jazz lovers, electronic lovers, and indie lovers getting into this album.
Overall, if you enjoy soothing, sexy, soulful music, you will love this album. This isn’t for any specific age group or genre. “Japonesque” is accessible to nearly everyone with a good taste. I’m not sure if there is a classic electronica genre of music yet, but if there was, Sienna would be one of the greatest in that genre, for sure.
I highly recommend purchasing this album; a burned copy just won’t be fair on the creativity of this group of musicians.
The Band: SIENNÁ (vo., key., DJ), Abòn (g., vo.), Hallvard Gaardløs (b.), Kristian Wentzel (key.)
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