Hybrid (Nettwerk Records, 2008)
The creative forces behind the Montreal project Elsiane, singer/songwriter/keyboardist Elsieanne Caplette and drummer Stephane Sotto, have hit the music scene’s streets with their debut album Hybrid. Rounding out the collaborative team with producer and keyboardist David Kakon, mix engineer Robert Heaney, bassist Kevin Desouza, guitarist Simon Angell and Pink Floyd and Peter Gabriel producer Bob Ezrin, Hybrid luxuriates in a plushy Euro swank sound that incorporates jazz phrasing, world beats and electronic elements to create soothing, picturesque mood music.
At the core of Hybrid are the sultry, girlie vocals by Ms. Caplette, whose delivery seems quite capable of melting stone. Whipping up breathy vocalizations against string-heavy, dreamy compositions like opening track “Vaporous” and follow-up tracks “Mend (To Fix, To Repair)” and “Across the Stream,” Hybrid evokes a cinematic musical landscape that offers up a sleek, jazzy hipness and emotional sensuality. Steeping in languid pools of electronica, tracks unfold with Caplette’s plumy vocals sailing above the rich rhythmic constructs by Sotto and artful, sweeping string lines.
The moody number “Prosaic” is especially good with Caplette’s silky vocals, but it’s the opening of “Ecclesia” with its electronic industrial funk laid down by programmer Jeff Feldman and Mr. Desouza’s bass lines that really sings. Equally delicious are tracks “Final Escape” and title track “ Hybrid” with the addition of Sheila Hannigan on cello.
Delightfully dreamy and eerily evocative, Elsiane has created a striking musical landscape out of Ms. Caplette’s glossy compositions. Lustrous and sophisticated, Hybrid is savagely cool.
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