Carolina Holzapfel Banda – Selfie (2016) review
Selfie (2016 – EL TEMPLE RECORDS – Chile)
An absolute knockout release from Chilean avant-jazz fusion exotic vocalist, keyboardist, composer, and performer Carolina Holzapfel. Her bandmates are Raul Diaz (drums, percussion), and Pablo Contreras (bass). The music actually stretches more boundaries than the avant-jazz label would suggest. For one, there is a big theatrical element, along with various dramatic stylings, classical, folk, rock, and humor visit as well.
Holzapfel writes all the material and her piano style is a tough one to pin down. A blend of Carla Bley and classical greats would be a good start. Her vocals are even more difficult to describe since she can switch gears from operatic, whimsical, daring, sensuous ballad, to classical and jazz excursions. Think a mix of Dagmar Krause (Slapp Happy), a mature Lene Lovich, Kate Bush, Toyah, and Flora Purim gone even more avant, and a female version of Peter Hammill. That is just a taste.
Some of the compositions get quite huge, with atmospheres added such as post rock, and bring gorgeous endings such as the last track. Although a short recording (approximately 32 minutes), it is rare to get so much packed into ten songs, especially since all tunes stay in the 2-4 minute range. ‘Selfie’ is not avant-garde in the sense of noise or ‘everyone blow it out’ ( as some view the avant style), in fact it is very song oriented and easily digested like perfectly prepared gourmet food. I predict Carolina will be massive in the avant-jazz world. A second listen to the debut release brings words like Godhead to the mind. Simply amazing and SUPREMELY RECOMMENDED.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 – 18 – 2018