Published: April 24, 2013
By: Lisa Disinger
Multi-talented music professional Rena Jones, an artist celebrated for her unique and experimental downtempo compositions, is now enjoying the release of her fifth full-length album, Echoes. Currently accessible for immediate, digital download, this collection will also take the psysical form of CD and Vinyl available come May. Jones is not only an outstanding producer, but an acclaimed sound engineer and practiced instrumentalist, as well, with a lifetime of study. Her developed and tempered taste of music guides the sound of this collaborative project, creating an album of deep compositional integrity and sonic warmth.
The most distinctive component of the Rena Jones sound is the artful combination of electronic and human elements. This solution features an electroacoustic union of digital and analog, true and synthesized, finite and infinite. Among the collaborative partners for this production is an entire woodwind section of singing clarinets and breathy sax. Also present is the extensive use of strings, especially the solo violin work of Ilya Goldberg. The notes of this small chamber orchestra are accompanied by the keys of warm analog synthesizer, and the tactfully chosen digital sounds of Ableton, embracing a full spectrum of tonal hues.
The second track on the Echoes album, "Shadows," exhibits a handsome pairing of sonic colors, melody/ counter-melody, cello and analog synth. The rich timbre of emanating from a resonant body of aged wood is beautifully complemented by a round, electronic organ. These same tone color qualities carry over into the vocal characteristics, namely Sophie Baker on tracks "Wishes" and "Mirror Me;" full-bodied, exquisitely dark, yet sweet. Throughout the production, art music elements of orchestral instrumentation and expressive jazz composition interact with the more progressive sounds of electronic dance music. "All That Ever Was," for instance, spotlights a classic hip-hop beat, with a deep sub line and a hallmark snare sequence pick-up.
Echoes is a production that moves from track to track in an embracingly warm, squishy mesh of aleatoric downtempo. Names from well known, atmospheric electronic acts such as Air, Groove Armada, and Emancipator are employed by Rena Jones for this latest collection, and can give you some idea as to its sound. Her direction of these various elements and musicians results in a sophisticated take on electronic music complemented by live instrumentation. The notion of collective teamwork and the soulful sounds of this album reminds us that there is something about this genre of music that is, perhaps, human after all.