Tuesday 11 September 2012

Janice Whaley: the Sequel!

And in a break from the advertised programme... 8-)  I have two more Proms to write about - including the genuinely unhinged Last Night - but that can wait for a day or two. Especially since we have months stretching out in front of us with no Proms. The memories can only comfort us.

Instead, I'm going to revisit another of my favourite subjects - Janice Whaley - who announced a new campaign on Kickstarter today, making this probably my most topical blog entry yet. *places finger on pulse*.

Most of you reading this will have probably read my first post about Janice, but just in case you haven't, it's here. Please read through it if you can and play some of the videos I posted. For now, I will be ludicrously brief.

Janice's gifts are at the exact meeting point between sublime vocalist and precision engineer. Her first release was an impossibly bold statement (at least, until she made it possible) - 'The Smiths Project' - every single Smiths song performed with just her voice. Layer upon layer of seemingly infinite variations of sound, all fed from larynx to laptop and mixed with some kind of natural (yet painstaking) genius.

Post a video? Oh, ALL RIGHT THEN. 'Rubber Ring' it is.

Then she discovered she was a brilliant songwriter as well, and her album 'Patchwork Life' emerged as something by turns uplifting, eerie and certainly fully-formed. Crucially, it isn't in any way reminiscent of The Smiths. Again, it's 90% voice but with some piano and percussion samples. More than a capella, more than electronica. Here's 'Megalodon' from the album.

Why go back and blog about Janice for a second time? Well, I mentioned the campaign earlier, and if you want to call this an 'advertorial', be my guest. I want as many people as possible to visit Janice's page and back her music. It's a genuine pleasure, actually, to return to an artist after only a couple of months and find how far things have actually moved on.

For a start, Janice has now received some support to hire a marketing specialist - so all of a sudden, she will now be cropping up in more record shops and on more radio stations in her native US. It's easy to sound glib about this sort of thing, but absolutely everything Janice has accomplished musically has been achieved against a more fraught and relentless background than you would ever imagine from the glacial calm of her work (again, see my earlier post). The business support will free up more of her time to focus on her music and her growing fanbase.

The latest campaign - says this totally biased fanboy - has everything the discerning and sophisticated music lover could want. There is a wild - wild, I say - array of packages to choose from. Because some of us are now starting to collect her music (and making suitably arcane format requests), the lead items in the new offers are on limited edition vinyl. But scratch the surface (ho ho ho!) and all of her back catalogue is there on download or CD as well. I don't believe you will regret a single note of anything you buy.

Here ends the message from our sponsors. If my writing about this woman's music communicates half the enthusiasm I feel for it - and a minute fraction of the pleasure the records give me - then it will have worked. It's not the first time I've written about Janice Whaley, and it won't be the last, either.

Other musicians are available. But very few of them are as original and talented as this one. Investigate.

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