Lion And Blue

Kat Terran

Little Roar Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Sometimes, sometimes the CD just baffles you.

I can't quite figure out Kat Terran. I'm currently listening to this CD for the eighth time, and I still can't quite get a handle on what she's trying to do here. I don't think that's a bad thing, necessarily; it certainly proves that she is doing something unlike anything else I've heard this year. Lion And Blue is easily the most unique thing that I've heard this year, an experimental melange of rhythm and melody pulling from jazz, ecto, folk, baroque, Eastern European, and African sources. The question has to be, however, does it work? The answer isn't easy, though.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I suppose the best answer is "sometimes." Lion And Blue is hard work to listen to. This isn't background music, seamless and unobtrusive; the melodies and Terran's insistent, rich, and penetrating voice coerce you to pay active, participatory instruction. The songs haunt you; they stay with you for hours after you've listened to the CD, hovering in the dim recesses of your memory.

With that, however, comes the downside; these songs are so ambitious, so insistent, that sometimes they fall flat. For every track that coalesces into something incredible ("Aspen Tree," "Curious Girl," "Southeast Window"), there's another that fails to come together ("Caravan," "Dolls," "Boa Constrictor"). Terran is obviously possessed of a fervent, powerful musical vision; unfortunately, sometimes that vision fails to be articulate enough to comprehend. It doesn't help that her lyrics are often obscure to the point of being Joycean (for example, even if "Aspen Tree" is good -- and it is -- I still want to know who Maria and Natalie are, demmit).

In terms of production and instrumentation, the CD is excellent, especially for a small-label release. I particularly liked the judicious use of cello and upright bass to flesh out and deepen Lion And Blue.

I wish I could tell you for sure if you should take the time to check out this CD. I suspect that Terran's work is an acquired, specialized taste; not everyone likes raw oysters or caviar, either. Perhaps the best advice is to try it once. Who knows; you may find something very special.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Little Roar Records, and is used for informational purposes only.