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Sarah Blasko


Country of origin:

Australia

Type of music generally:

Ectronic pop

Status:

Most recent release, Depth of Field (2018)

See also:

Sarah Blasko's site

Sarah Blasko's Facebook page

Wikipedia's entry on Sarah Blasko

Comparisons:

Inara George, Carina Round; shades of Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, and Fiona Apple possibly

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

The Overture & the Underscore is her first full-length CD release, but she *has* been around for a while. She released an EP previously, Prelusive in 2002. And before then she used to front a band called Acquiesce who released their EP, Aa is for acquiesce in 1999. Don't bother looking for these in your local shops, the odds of finding them are probably about as good as winning lotto... (afries@zip.com.au)

Comments about live performance:

was very happy to see Sarah Blasko last week at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. She played at least half of Depth of Field, as well as songs from previous albums, all solo, in configurations from voice only to voice and piano, voice and beats, voice and piano and beats, and voice and guitar. On one song she played piano with her right hand and with her left hand played some sort of electronic box on top of the piano that gave off a theremin-like sound. Not a lot of stage banter, but she seemed very amused by the enthusiasm and attentiveness of the crowd, by most anything and everything really. It was quite cute. (April 2018, JoAnn Whetsell)

Recommended first album:

The Overture & the Underscore

Recordings:


The Overture & the Underscore

Release info:

2005—Universal Records—B0004724-02

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Blasko—vocals, snare, cymbals, tambourine

Guest artists:

Joey Waronker—drums, percussion
Robert F. Cranny—bass, drum programming, horn & string sample arrangements, LinnDrum, whistle, morse code, drill
Wally Gagel—606 beat on "All Coming Back," hats & shaker, hi chorus synth, intro drums on "Counting Sheep"
Bruce MacFarlane—additional engineering (2, 9, 11), noisy synth on "Long Time"
Nadav & Edo Khan—ambient sounds
Brian Paturalski—sampling on the Discovery Store keyring mic
Darren Hanlon—additional backing vocals on "Always Worth It"
Korel Tunador—horns on "At Your Best"

Produced by:

Wally Gagel, Sarah Blasko, Robert F. Cranny

Comments:

Sarah Blasko has one of those voices I could listen to all damn day. It's pretty and sexy while being strong and forceful at the same time. There's a twinge of smoke to it too.
     The music is hard to describe. I guess it's rock, but it's pretty edgy and not regular old rock. Not quite pop either. The songs are very well written, staying catchy and entertaining without ever straying to the boring or trite. Mainstream enough to keep newbies interested, yet intricate and layered enough to keep those of us listening for the 100th time, just as enthralled.
     "Beautiful Secrets" has a Radiohead quality to it. [She and Carina Round] are sort of similar. Carina is a little harder, but Sarah still rocks out quite nicely.
     This is an amazingly strong debut CD. In fact when I first heard someone mention this CD, I was sure she'd been around for a while and when I listened was even more sure. Then later found out this is her first release. This woman has a very promising future in music and I, for one, can't wait to hear more. But for now, this one goes on repeat.
     Stand out songs: "All Coming Back", "Don't You Eva". Oh hell, I can't pick out just a few, they're really all good and I love them more with each listen. You will too.
     Full review online at Collected Sounds. (amy@ecalos.com)

The Overture & the Underscore is richly textured, dark-ish, and uses electronic... stuff; it should be filed under ectronica and beautiful & fierce. Whatever it is I find so compelling about this album is the same thing that makes it impossible to pinpoint why I find this album so compelling. All I know is that this has virtually lived in my cd player since I bought it months ago. I've listened to it dozens of times, sometimes two or three times in a row, a real rarity. An excellent and original debut from someone who should have a long and vibrant career. (JoAnn Whetsell)


What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have

Release info:

2006 (Australia), 2007 (U.S.)—Universal Music Australia—B0009815-02

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Blasko—drum programming, synth, vibraphone, organ, Wurlitzer, acoustic guitar, string arrangement (1), vocal arrangement (3, 11), vocals

Guest artists:

Robert F Cranny—bass guitar, guitar, acoustic, electric, and nylon string guitars, synth bass, SH-101, organ, piano, mellotron, Wurlitzer, string synth, harmonium, synth, sampler, drum machine, guitar feedback (12), vocals (8), vocal arrangement (3, 11), string arrangement (1, 3, 4, 12), bassoon arrangement (3)
Jim Moginie—Wurlitzer, piano, toy piano, omnichord, mellotron, electric guitar
Jeff de Araujo—drums, percussion
Stéphanie Zarka—violin
Michele O'Young—violin
David Wicks—viola
Andy Hines—cello
Andy Meisel—double bass
Jessica Chapnik—guest vocals (1)
Dave Symes—bass guitar, synth bass
Melaine Vanden Broek—bassoon
Kiri Eriwata, Ellen Kuiper, Cherie Mathieson, Antony Pickard, John Tuala—vocals (3, 4, 9, 11), vocal arrangement (11)
Knox Chandler—tremolo guitar (5), guitar sound (9)
Ben Fletcher—additional electric guitar (9)

Produced by:

Sarah Blasko, Robert F Cranny & Jim Moginie

Comments:

This is a stellar follow-up to an impressive debut album, and I'm so glad it's finally available in the States. What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have is full of richness and complexity, and what I like about it is as hard to define as what I like about The Overture & the Underscore. I can say that, in comparison, What the Sea Wants... is slower in tempo, more meditative. This isn't something I noticed until getting to one of the more upbeat, "pop" songs on the album that sounded like it would fit right in on The Overture & the Underscore. There are also some lovely, haunting choruses. Bottom line: If you liked The Overture & the Underscore, you will like What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have too. And if you haven't discovered Sarah yet, this is a great place to start. (JoAnn Whetsell)

As Day Follows Night

Release info:

2009 (Australia), 2010 (U.S.)—Universal Music Australia

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

I've never been able to quite finger how this album differs from its predecessors (it seems somehow lighter, dreamier—at least in places—and I think there are some instruments Sarah hasn't used before) but what's really important is that it's just as good. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Charming, sweet. (alexander . johannesen @ gmail . com)

One of the best albums of the year. (christina_skov@hotmail.com, Marion)


Cinema Songs

Release info:

2011—Dramatico—DRAMCD0079

Availability:

Hard to find

Ecto priority:

Low

Group members:

Sarah Blasko—vocals, piano

Comments:

Lovely 5-track EP of (mostly) songs from musicals that originally appeared as As Day Follows Night bonus material. Sarah doesn't reinvent these songs, but lives them, finding deep emotion. Well done. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I Awake

Release info:

2013—Dew Process/Universal Music Australia

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Blasko—piano (8, 11); ukulele (3); mellotron (8); vocals

Guest artists:

Frederik Rundqvist—drums (1-6, 8-10, 12)
David Symes—bass (1-6, 8-10, 12)
Thomas Tjaräqvist—piano (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12); keys (1, 2, 4, 5, 9)
Fredrik Kinbom—electric guitar (5, 12); ukulele (7)
John Eriksson—percussion (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12)
Stina Hellberg—harp (3, 6, 8)
Nicholas Wales—additional piano (2); viola (9); orchestral arrangements
The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra:
     Deyan Pavlov—conductor
     Dimitar Danchev—concert master
The Slavey Folklore Quartet:
     Svelta Ivanova—soprano
     Mariana Pavlova—contra alto
     Christina Karamfilova—soprano
     Liliana Gelevska-Angelova—mezzo soprano

Produced by:

Sarah Blasko

Comments:

Is this Sarah's best album to date? There's definitely an argument to be made. Unfortunately I'm not the person to make it. As usual, I can't describe well why I like this album so much or how it differs from her previous three. I do think they're all subtly different, but I can't really explain how. All I can say is that I love this album and anyone who enjoys Sarah's previous releases should pick this one up too. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I've only managed to listen to it once all the way through, but it's made an immediate impression and I love it. It will be interesting to see if this love holds through repeated listenings, but still... (adamk@zoom.co.uk)


Eternal Return

Release info:

2015—Universal/EMI—4751310

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Blasko

Guest artists:

Jim Moginie—baritone guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, theremin
Donny Benét—bass, synth
Laurence Pike—drums, percussion
David Hunt—piano, synth
Burke Reid—additional rhythm guitar
Matt Keegan—saxophone

Produced by:

Burke Reid

Comments:

Although I always loved opening track "I Am Ready," it took me a long while to get into this album. I think if I hadn't seen Sarah perform some of the songs live I might never have gotten into it at all. Originally I just found it boring, and while I've overcome that and appreciate the songs more now, I think some of the production choices and electronic sounds are a bit off-putting and probably what I was reacting to negatively at first. I'm glad this has grown on me, but I will probably continue to listen to her other albums more. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Depth of Field

Release info:

2018—Universal/EMI—6717481

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Blasko—piano, keyboards, lead and backing vocals

Guest artists:

Laurence Pike—drums and percussion
Donny Benét—bass, synths
David Hunt—piano, keyboards
Ben Fletcher—guitars, bass synth, backing vocals
Sarah Belkner—piano, keyboards, backing vocals
Nick Wales—viola, keyboards
Veronique Serret—violin
Matthew Keegan—baritone saxophone
Ike See—violin
Madeleine Boud—violin
Benjamin Smith—violin
Ilya Isakovich—violin
Lucy Warren—violin
Liisa Pallandi—violin
Andrew Jezek—viola
Carl St. Jacques—viola
Julian Thompson—cello
Heather Lindsay—cello

Produced by:

Sarah Blasko

Comments:

Nearly halfway through 2018, this remains my favorite album of the year to date. It's on the darker, electronic side of her work. Moody and sultry and entirely captivating. Although "It's really good; I love it!" is not a useful review, that's what I want to say to people while I shake this album in their faces and make them listen. That good. That much love. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Compilation work includes:

  • "Don't Dream It's Over" on She Will Have Her Way: The Songs of Tim & Neil Finn (2005) and They Will Have Their Way: The Songs of Tim & Neil Finn (2011)
  • "Sarah Belle" on Long Gone Whistle: The Songs of Maurice Frawley (2010)
  • "Nyiir lenquarr" on The Key of Sea (2010)
  • "Don't Dream It's Over" on She Will Have Her Way: The Songs of Tim & Neil Finn (2005) and They Will Have Their Way: The Songs of Tim & Neil Finn (2011)
  • "Simple Wooden Box" on Harbour Songs (2012)
  • "Spanish Ladies" on the Turn: Washington's Spies soundtrack (2014)
  • "My Man" on the StalkHer soundtrack (2015)
Collaborations include:

  • "All I Want" and "Down With Love" on Communion's The Flowerpot Sessions (2011)
  • "To Let Go" with Angus & Julia Stone on Communion's The Flowerpot Sessions (2011)
These tracks are not available elsewhere.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2018-09-23 22:42:54.
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