By Stephanie Raycroft
Well, it’s winter and that means that most of us are looking for an escape from the cold, snow, slush and ice.
Funnily enough, that is just what I recently got. I was momentarily taken away to another time. I imagined myself as a princess in a Medieval castle, doing embroidery (or whatever it was princesses did in their bountiful leisure time) by a roaring fire draped in furs.
No, I wasn’t playing pretend again. Wait, again? Nevermind.
I was actually listening to Scorpion Moon, Canadian artist Sora’s fourth studio release. In addition to managing to create four albums, she has amassed a couple of accomplishments along the way. In 2010, Sora was commissioned to create a song celebrating Calgary Family Service’s 100-year anniversary. The song, “Legacy”, was recorded with Juno nominated producer, Douglas Romanov.
Sora’s sound is otherworldly and ethereal, mixing ancient with modern, mythical with real. She manages to take all of these influences and strike a balance, keeping her music grounded. She describes her sound the best: “A meshing of World, New Age, and neo-classical (Loreena McKennitt meets Sarah Brightman), I like to call it ‘New World Music.’”
Critics certainly love her. An article in Victoria’s The Martlett proclaims, “There are few comparisons to Sora in today’s musical expanse. . . . [She is] a completely unique experience for the music lover.” The Peterborough This Week states Sora’s “haunting vocals, complemented splendidly by an array of classical instruments, lift one to a whole other place.” As a semi-amateur critic myself, I feel a bit of pressure to see and understand what they do in Sora’s music.
What I will say is that I agree with them, just short of completely. She’s obviously extremely talented, otherwise she wouldn’t have become as successful as she is. Her voice is beautiful, and the arrangement of sounds on the album is nothing short of masterful.
Don’t even get me started on the lyrics, UGH. I’ll give you one example so that you may fully appreciate just how poetic and splendid the lyrics are: “Oh thousand nights forgive me this murderous pride morning betrays. Oh maybe my life will be redeemed to know, to know. To know that you love me.” Pretty great, right?
My problem is that I don’t totally enjoy Scorpion Moon. Yes, I am able to imagine another place and time. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that it brings me to the right time. I don’t so much hear neo-classical as I do neo-chamber music. It just isn’t my thing. The music doesn’t really pick up at any point, which makes me feel like Sora is missing something in an otherwise flawless offering.
I would say that if you are interested in classical-ish or New Age stuff, or want to play pretend with me, please give it a listen. Just because it isn’t my thing doesn’t mean it won’t be yours!