Kissey Asplund - Plethora

Kissey Asplund
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Plethora, the new album by Sweden based singer Kissey Asplund, is aptly named. The ephemeral and atmospheric music seems to come at the listener from a plethora of angles. The beats, provided by the Paris based hip-hop crew the Papa Jazz Crew, are discordant in a jazzy sort of way. Drum machines and keyboards lay down a steady rhythm as horns and piano riffs seem to drift in and out. Meanwhile Asplund's voice floats in and out.

The breezy light nature of Asplund's singing sometimes presents a problem. Asplund's voice is so airy that her vocals can get lost among the programmed beats, pianos and saxophones. On songs such as "Beam Me Up," her robotic delivery makes it difficult to understand what Asplund is saying. And as is often the case on music that employs elements of electronica, sometimes the music can sound impersonal.

Plethora, the new album by Sweden based singer Kissey Asplund, is aptly named. The ephemeral and atmospheric music seems to come at the listener from a plethora of angles. The beats, provided by the Paris based hip-hop crew the Papa Jazz Crew, are discordant in a jazzy sort of way. Drum machines and keyboards lay down a steady rhythm as horns and piano riffs seem to drift in and out. Meanwhile Asplund's voice floats in and out.

The breezy light nature of Asplund's singing sometimes presents a problem. Asplund's voice is so airy that her vocals can get lost among the programmed beats, pianos and saxophones. On songs such as "Beam Me Up," her robotic delivery makes it difficult to understand what Asplund is saying. And as is often the case on music that employs elements of electronica, sometimes the music can sound impersonal.

On those songs where this is not a problem, Asplund proves to be a more than adequate lyricist. That's the case on songs such as "You And I," the dreamy "6 A.M." and the feisty "Phone Call." Asplund's lyrics are often simple and direct and tell stories of a woman trying to work through her relationship with men, friends and herself. For example, "Caos" (which uses a piano sample of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmastime is Here") tells the story of Asplund's attempt to separate herself mentally from a lover: "Delete your number/Blacked it out/Pressed passed over/Can't remember you now," she sings in a cooing voice that is reminiscent of some of Jill Scott's work. Later in the song, Asplund coos "Still I keep thinking/Thinking of you/Still I keep dreaming/Dreaming of You," which is a way of letting the listener know that forgetting a love interest is not as easy as deleting the person's number from the Blackberry.

Some have noted that Plethora has a jazz feel. If that's the case, then the style of jazz the album reminds me of is Ornette Coleman's free jazz. And like free jazz, Plethora will likely have its share of passionate supporters and critics. Me? Plethora has some good moments. However, some of the work on the album confirms the criticism that electronica music can sometimes sound impersonal.

Howard Dukes

 
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