Kate Targan - From The Light (2013)

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Kate Targan - From The Light (2013)
Artist: Kate Targan
Title Of Album: From The Light
Year Of Release: 2013
Label: Kate Targan
Genre: Jazz Pop
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 37:25
Total Size: 87 Mb
Covers: Front

01. La Despedida (3:16)
02. Almeria's Wind (4:07)
03. From The Light (3:56)
04. The Plane Song (3:32)
05. Nos (Feat. Xoan Curiel) (3:44)
06. Lonely (4:34)
07. Bilbao (4:20)
08. My Time (2:55)
09. Roberta Blue (4:09)
10. Paving The Way (2:49)

Every song on Kate Targan's debut album, From the Light, is eminently listenable. Effortlessly striding across diverse styles and produced in a way that feels simultaneously meticulous and authentic, there isn't an awkward or unbalanced song here. Yet for all that, it challenges audiences in ways that most music this accessible won't. It is gentle enough to put on in the background, but it asks to be listened to. Its songs stand on their own, but they want to be heard as a whole album, a whole journey.

The album starts with the track "La Despedida", a wistful bluegrass departure reminiscent of Alison Krauss. With a voice combining a vulnerable airiness and fray with a studied jazz suppleness, Targan sings a goodbye to someone she still loves. Gentle guitar fingerpicking, sweet and simple piano lines and tasteful touches of steel guitar accompany the singer through a bittersweet parting. By the second track, however, she will be on the other side of the world, in the Spanish bossa nova number "Almeria's Wind".

The thing holding the two tracks together is Targan's voice. Somehow, her style can find a home anywhere, whether in a country reverie like "La Despedida" or a nocturnal, jazz romance like "Almeria's Wind". Otherwise, the tracks are different enough to sound like they could be from two different albums the first time you hear them. The steel guitar is traded for a horn, the rhythmic fingerpicking for expressive chords, and the night mystery, filled out with the subtle sizzle of cymbals and the moody echo of vibraphone. Even the perspective has shifted, with the singer now the one holding on to a lover who must part.

The first switch between styles is a bit surprising on first listen, but becomes eminently gratifying as the logic of the album unfolds. Throughout From the Light, Targan switches back and forth between styles, traveling with the listener through the sunny days and luminous nights of a journey. Songs like "Nos" and "Bilbao" develop a moody jazz seduction, alternating with the warm, nostalgic sunlight of country tunes like "La Despedida" and "My Time".

The title track anchors the themes of the album. It begins with the words: "Take a walk with me through the moss-grown trees, where the dew-kissed trees cover sight. There, you'll start to see morning's golden beams shine down your reflection from the light." This trip is not just about adventure and romance, but about healing. Alternating between leaving and returning, between longing and passion, the singer seeks to lead you to a place of wholeness, a mystical moment where the things you seek in the world find their double within you.

The penultimate track, "Roberta Blue", brings things full circle. With the lines: "Oh Roberta Blue, I wanna sing with you, you had a voice and a dream, and no one knew, and now you've got lifetimes of dreams to pursue," Targan seems to be sending an absent loved one on her own journey, as the singer's own travels draw to a close. A slow, aching ballad with gospel-inflected vocals underscored by flourishes of organ, the song feels like a religious tune, celebrating her friend's strength and goodness, and rejoining in the journeys we all make through life.

The last song, "Paving the Way" is a gentle lullaby of return. With a piano line sounding sometimes like a music box and, other times, rolling like the strings of an orchestral harp, Targan celebrates a tender return to a loved one. "Let's blink our lashes like butterflies, and even though I'm shy, I won't go away," she sings, turning down the lights in a homecoming with the same necessity, the same tenderness as the departure.

There are many levels on which to enjoy this album. You can listen to individual songs and enjoy them as well-crafted tunes. You can play the album through and passively move through the shifting styles and perspectives in a pleasant idyll. But if you really listen to it, you might get something deeper out of it: a celebration of the partings and reunions, the romances and reconciliations we all make, and a joy in the way we can take all these things with us through life. ~Review by David Lessem

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