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Rueslatten, Kari: Pilot

Pilot is former (and original) The 3rd and the Mortal vocalist Kari Rueslatten's third solo album and marks a stylistic change in her solo career. Starting out as a folk-influenced pop singer on her first two discs, which are also great in their own right, Rueslatten made a foray into more experimental territory with this disc. Though there are plenty of trip-hop elements, with plenty of sound effects, distant keys, discreet pianos, and textured walls of sound, Rueslatten's beautiful vocals are never obscured. They are in the centre of the mix, be it on the straightforward pop song "Calling You," where she desperately repeats the mini-chorus, or on the more acoustic-based title track where she likens herself to "a pilot with no plane," using metaphors and beautiful imagery. It's, however, on the more textured experimental pieces where her grasp of song arrangement and melody development come through. "Smile in Your Sleep" sounds like a song lifted from Bjork's Vespertine: deep-running synth drones form the basis for a throbbling, unsettling bass figure which follows Rueslatten's a capella passage in the intro. The endlessly layered "Snow" boasts looped drums and harmonies surrounding her sweet, lullaby-like singing. If you want to hear her in a more piano-based singer-songwriter format reminiscent of Tori Amos, check out "Leaving." The song sounds simplistic with minimal instrumentation, but the raw emotion in her voice, her unique timbre, and her heartfelt delivery will melt you. The more industrial-sounding "Beautiful Morning" and "Denial" bring to mind The Gathering circa If_Then_Else: subterranean sounds rumbling under the main melodic themes, lots of bleeps and electronic glitches underscoring Rueslatten's vocals, and a song that is informed by a deep sense of motion and space. It is, however, on "Exile," the only song she co-wrote with other artists, and "Love I Gave" where she tests the limits of art-pop. The former sees her going back to her folk-inspired singing during the song's quiet, tension-filled passages before switching back and adopting a Bjork-esque vocal delivery to rise and peak amidst a densely mixed, far-reaching arrangement. On the other song, her doubled vocals provide counterpoint harmony: I can almost imagine this song finding a place for itself on a future re-release of Bjork's magnum opus Homogenic, with less experimental vocals.

If you listen to and like this disc, you're advised to also check out Other People's Stories if you want to see Rueslatten explore similar soundscapes with a clearer sonic vision. While still experimental, the songs unfold with a more focused sound development and suggest a vocalist carving her own niche. As for her 2014 album, Time to Tell, you can hear her in a more singer-songwriter context, with a more mature (and confident) vocal delivery opting for a more organic sound with more guitars, percussion, and a lot of piano. There is even a new reinterpretation of The 3rd and the Mortal's "Why So Lonely" from their first full-length disc here. All three albums are worth exploring. Kari Rueslatten does not disappoint.

Tracklisting

  1. Calling You
  2. River
  3. Never Fly Away
  4. Denial
  5. Snow
  6. Exile
  7. Pilot
  8. Smile in Your Sleep
  9. Leaving
  10. Beautiful Morning
  11. Love I Gave
  12. Butterfly-Milk

Added: July 7th 2014
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Kari Rueslatten Facebook page
Hits: 1330
Language: english

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