This could be a case of the grass looking greener on the other side, but there’s something about European artists that always seems so cool. For example, how does a John Ford western transform into a Sergio Leone western? How did they know to replace the classical Hollywood orchestral arrangements with Ennio Morricone’s bizarre western music? How did they decide to use extreme close ups between each character’s eyes right before the shoot out?
It’s an ability to transform art into something so much more stylized, with so much more substance that separates American and European art. Listening to Shamanka Phoenix’s album feels so cool in the same way. It’s the coolness that comes from a long line of European artists who redefine genres, offer new styles, and revolutionize sounds.
It’s no surprise that the tracks on Shamanka Phoenix’s album Destination are named for European cities. Each track sounds remarkably well crafted, to the point where any slight rearrangement would drastically alter the sound. Shamanka Phoenix is an artist who knows what she’s doing. From the beautiful melodies of each track, to her phenomenal vocals and lyrics, make no mistake, this is no amateur making these songs; this is master craftsmanship.
Take B E R L I N (Dappled Sunlight) for example. There are so many little nuances in the beat of the song. An echoed snare, the faint sound of a tambourine; it’s these little touches that show Shamanka’s attention to detail, an absolute asset to her tracks.
Often when an artist devotes that level of attention to detail, the gestalt of the track can be obscured, like the artist is no longer able to separate the forest from the trees, yet Shamanka Phoenix can get that granular and still make incredibly beautiful and melodic music like on I B I Z A (Sexbot). The track is absolutely beautiful right from the get go. With a melodic harp in the beginning and lush, indulgent piano chords sprinkled throughout, it’s an extremely melodic and beautiful song with an amazing sound that balances both the organic and synthesized. It conveys both a highly intimate feeling, and yet sounds detached, which is fitting for a song about sexbots. It takes impressive ability to convey such complex emotions.
S H E F F I E L D (remember me) is a real showstopper. It’s in this track you realize how gifted Shamanka Phoenix is as a musician, singer, songwriter, and producer. In the age of DAW producers, autotune, and ghostwriters, it’s a rare artist who actually owns their own talent. Yet this talent has a purpose, it serves the song; it makes something so beautiful and stylized possible.
Listening to the last track, S T O C K H O L M, you can’t help but bring a smile to your face. It’s like watching a star athlete play a perfect game. Throughout the whole spectacle your jaw drops down to the ground, but then when it’s all finished you can’t help but smile at such a phenomenon. This song is her victory lap at the end of an already impressive album
D E S T I N A T I O N’s not an album to just listen to, but to learn from as well. Listening to these tracks, the musical world feels more expansive and exploratory than ever before. If you haven’t listened to to this album, please give it a chance. Definitely would give this album a recc.