Like a lonely barn on its cover, a record that stands out in the field to hold an intimate universe.
Vocal album is a rare bird in MoonJune’s multicolored skies, but the inner logic of this collection has made it a perfect entry in the label’s stable. Hardly inspired by the “Haven” series and The Barn whose rarely visible presence is felt all over the show’s events, there’s something magically off about Tali Atzmon’s songs – possibly because it’s an Israeli sort of jazz replanted into the slightly alien English soil – which resulted in a strange release as opposed to orthodox genres’ restraint.
An amount of free thought infiltrated into the record’s fabric may be measured by “You Don’t Know What Love Is”: the standard turns out dramatic, Gothic even , in the way that Ella and Billie would approve of. Atzmon’s reading of the latter’s “Don’t Explain” is deliberately deadpan, though, but it’s paradoxically passionate, while the equally elegant “When You Are Gone” feels dry yet engaging. If the title track is the singer’s public-view portrait, its melancholy – created by her voice’s wordless meandering between romantic piano and seductive sax – paints Tali as a reflective soul whose dynamic emotions are able to dominate any space, as they also do in the chamber “When You Are Gone” or “Four 2 Tango” in a more traditional setting – only to go off on an avant-garde tangent where hysteria and histrionics walk hand in hand.
There’s a natural intimacy between Tali’s pipes and husband Gilad’s reeds, so arresting in the short “Heimat” and so riveting in the slo-mo romp of “Losing Vision” which passes by as an aural film noir, viola da gamba weaving sweet pain into the piece’s menace, before flute pours a flickering light into “Baroque Bottom” where her bel canto has a chance to soar most impressively. Just as liberated, the artist’s sparse soprano spreads a soundscape on “Invitation” for an unexpectedly playful stanzas to dance with accordion under vocal lines in a klezmer manner and give way to delicate improvisation that’s aided and abetted by Yaron Stavi’s contrabass. That may suit Talinka the singer and “Talinka” the album, yet every time her number has to go into The Barn it’ll come out differently, and such surprise is one of this record’s many strengths.