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Christiane D | Obliquity of the Ecliptic

album review by Kate Risi

Made of Wood

Some albums evoke a feeling of comfort, some bring forth passion, and some make the listener feel just plain happy. Christiane D’s new album, Obliquity of the Ecliptic makes me feel uncomfortable. The sonic, space-like sounds paired along with the percussion driven melodies are pleasant on their own, but when paired with the half whispered, half sung lyrics and the occasional rap backing, the songs are off putting. It’s as if the album is supposed to create a thought provoking space scape, and yet it somehow got lost in orbit.

The record begins with “False Moons (interlude)”. Although it’s just over 20 seconds long, the short introduction to the album sets the tone. The mechanic buzzing and the siren in the background feel hard-edged. There’s an unnecessary jarring quality to the music that throws me off and in some ways, causes me to close up.

“In the Air” takes the album on a turn toward the softer. However, the sound still carries a harshness that makes it hard to get into. Something about the quality of voice, which is sharp and often switches between elongated speech and murmured singing, combined with the softer, more traditional melodies, feels not right.

The short interludes that are dispersed throughout the album add uneasiness- whispered words in the wind, symbols, what sounds like a little kid talking, and innumerable beeps and buzzes are just too much to handle. These short breaks, rather than providing an intermission with which to carry the listener through the album, are overwhelming.

Obliquity of the Ecliptic does have some redeeming qualities. The melodies in many of the songs are beautiful; they’re just hard to hear underneath the distracting vocals and over-laid synth sounds. “Either it Will” has an enjoyable backing track that left as an instrumental, would be bouncy, energetic, and great to dance to. “Beautiful Disaster” has a fiery blues sound that could be amazing on its own.

As a whole, the album feels overworked. Hiding beneath thick layers of distraction, the record’s got great potential; unfortunately, a lot gets lost in the busyness. Proving an old cliché true, less, in this case, could be much more.

Bottom line: An overload of sounds that makes for an uneasy listen.


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