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Lori Cullen - Uneven Hill 2001 torrent
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As a vibrant presence in Toronto's crowded singer/songwriter scene, Lori Cullen has consistently received high praise. Her first solo CD Garden Path garnered a "four N" review from NOW Magazine. Her follow-up jazz CD So Much made several prominent Best Of 2003 lists. Uneven Hill represents her most accomplished work to date. While an acapella version of the traditional piece In The Gloaming showcases her stunning vocals, the focus of the new album are nine highly original songs which feature Cullen's poetically observational lyrics and idiosyncratic compositional style.
Based around her use of alternative guitar tunings, the complex chords and sophisticated structures have been influenced by an intuitive understanding of jazz. So Much, recorded with the Ron Davis Trio, gives ample evidence of her confidence with demanding material, and the creativity to expand the notion of standards.
First time listeners draw diverse comparisons from Joni Mitchell to Bjork. The common element that Lori shares with these artists is an uncompromising artistic vision.
Her early love of Crowded House fostered a respect for meticulous craftsmanship and rewarding accessibility. An ongoing appreciation of acoustic music (such as bluegrass legend John Hartford) keeps her material grounded.
Producer/bassist Chris Gartner (Kevin Hearn's Thinbuckle, Mia Sheard), brought his eccentric blend of art rock and world music into the arrangements, which are detailed with such unusual textures as bowed banjo and sampled escalator. Other notable contributors include percussionist Mark Mariash, guitarist Brian MacMillan, and soundscaper Kurt Swinghammer.
"If there was one person who was an overwhelming favourite the consensus would be Lori. People just keep coming to me telling how much they adore her."
- Bill King, The Jazz Report
'Simultaneously lush and fragile, terribly pretty ...Cullen wields her voice with careful deliberation, like an instrument that soars and wavers.'
- Now Magazine
"One of the local scene's most luminous voices!"
- John Sakamoto, The Toronto Sun
'If music had the power to reduce stress, this would be the album to do it... Lori Cullen's effort could add atmosphere to a construction site. A true artist who has created an important work of contemporary Canadian music.'
- Penguin Eggs
An astounding achievement by this Toronto based artist, whose originality in all areas has resulted in a complex, unpredictable and stunningly beautiful body of work. The songs are unique in all respects, with unexpected delights at every turn. A modernized version of Joni Mitchell's Don Juan period comes to mind as a loose reference point, but on this, only the second release of her writing, Cullen establishes complete independence from her influences. Surrounded by impeccable musicianship included percussionist Mark Mariash (the Monet of Toronto drummers), his engineer bro Keith on Neve knobs, and the under-recognized Brian MacMillan on guitars, Lori shares production duties with bassist Chris Gartner. This is his first credit in that capacity, and apparently he has been saving his genius for the perfect project. His sympathetic settings add depth and mystery to the material, with unusual textures such as bowed banjo, and a haunting middle eastern flute snaking through a beautiful lush garden of vocal harmonies. As a singer who can hold her own with a jazz standard, well represented in her recording with The Ron Davis Trio, Cullen has the rare gift of making each word an event. The decaying warble on "winter", the urgency of "now", she draws from a broad and expressive vocal pallet while avoiding the pitfalls of emotional grandstanding, and Auto-tune perfectionism. Her lyrical approach poetically pushes the descriptions of keen details towards a blurred abstraction that lends itself to varied interpretations. Populated by birds, snowmen and observed characters, Cullen ever so sparsely mentions You and I, the overused common refuge of the singer slash songwriter. Why, she even manages to make a song about trains sound fresh! ‚ which is remarkable as that is one of my TABOO subjects. While we're at it, another is California. ENOUGH! Thankfully the C word doesn't show up on Uneven Hill. I contributed a bit of melodica and Omnichord to a few tracks, and thrilled to be on what may well be the best album of the year.
- Kurt Swinghammer @ cdbaby.com
Artist: Lori Cullen
Album: Uneven Hill
Date Of Release: 2001
Genre: Artfolk, Singer-Songwriter, Acoustic Jazz
Bitrate: VBR --alt-preset extreme