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Crystal Beth: Push Thru

Here is one of those albums that is awfully hard to grasp. Beth Fleenor aka Crystal Beth is based out of the San Francisco area and has been performing for around twenty years. Her music has been produced through a number of avenues; live, studio, performance, theater, installation, modern dance and film. She performs both solo and with her Boom Boom Band. Beth uses unique and generally weird vocalizations (apparently she sings in an invented language) and also plays the clarinet, where she really does excel.

So again, I really don’t know what to make of this album. Is it creative? A resounding yes. Is it unique? Again, a resounding yes. Even some of the melodies are quite prominent. Perhaps this is an album that takes an abundance of listens before it starts to click. That is not to say this is all bad because it really isn’t. With the first track “Push Thru” it’s the weird vocalizations that continue to throw me off. However, I will say Beth has a very good voice, and really versatile with tremendous control over her notes. She also uses beat boxing to create the beat as the music develops into an exotic collage of sounds. Then the music calms down with the clarinet creating quite a beautiful melody. A sort of paradox of musical directions here. Boring this isn’t. On “Our Piece” the sound is more traditional, as Beth’s clarinet takes on earthy tones. This definitely has a ‘getting back to nature’ kind of vibe. She really is a master of technology, like loops and pedals. There is a repetitive nature at work here but I quite like this one.

So, for an album with just vocals and clarinet, it really is a testament to her imagination and creativity and not being confined to a particular niche. Although I don’t like all the tracks there are some nice moments here and this lady is very talented. If you like music on the experimental side you might want to indulge yourself with Push Thru.

Track Listing:
1. Push Thru (6:40)
2. Our Piece (5:53)
3. Shrill (2:45)
4. Dolphy (4:54)
5. Go Fast (4:42)
6. Invocation (2:54)
7. Kali Out (4:11)
8. So Much Hurts (8:58)

Added: February 4th 2020
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 526
Language: english

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