Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adena Atkins: The Slowest Curve

Adena  Atkins is an aspiring young singer/songwriter recently transplanted in Seattle after studying at Berklee College of Music. She presents her new four song EP The Slowest Curve as a representation of seasons changing as well as shifting relationships. The fluidity of nature and human interaction is clearly her inspiration. Initially I was drawn in by Atkins sultry soprano voice, which I would compare with Tori Amos or Ani Difranco. It has a distinct tone which lends itself well to her intimate song writing. A lot of imagery of nature presents itself as the writers vantage point is one in which she is peering  from a window. The “window” may be literal as well as metaphorical as each track on this EP explores interpersonal relationships and opening oneself up to life’s possibilities. Atkins is joined with production and instrumentation by Jay Pinto.  Interesting electronic synths, rhythms and various effects add a modern shine to some pretty melodies. “Glass” opens the EP representing fall and begins with an interesting synth line and electronic drums. The thoughts of a passionate relationship are intertwined with imagery of nighttime and tree branches reaching for the sky. “End of story” brings the listener to winter and the idea that sometimes relationships just need to end. A natural progression has occurred and a separation is inevitable. I thought the melody was beautiful and reminded me a bit “Mad World” by Tears for fears. “April Rain” naturally represents spring with it’s lovely keyboard melody and driving rhythm. This song sheds winter and exposes the patterns in a relationship and asks the question, why do we break up just to make up again? The writers answer is that we live just as nature exists,  however one must learn there is beauty in these patterns as well. “Hot gray morning” represents, you guessed it, summer.  As the writer misses home, staring out the window 3,000 miles away from California, I was mesmerized by the foreboding instrumentation which created an effectively somber mood. Overall, I thought the instrumentation and production on this EP was top notch. A very modern sound with great attention to detail.  Atkins soprano has a great tone and her wordplay was interesting. I’ll look forward to Atkins growing even further as an artist. I hope she continues the path of a holistic approach to songwriting as this makes her unique in the singer/songwriter community.

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