The studio escape! Probably my favorite recording conceit of all time, the sojourn into the great outdoors to make an album has been entertained by many a musician. Often billed as a some sort of inspired innovation, one wonders why all these prospective listeners pining after outdoor recordings don’t just pick up Alan Lomax’s Library of Congress recordings from the 1940s? Anyway, in this instance, fledgling singer-songwriter Andrea Tomasi goes out to Minnewaska State Park in the Catskills and slaps together what amounts to a tidy, inoffensive demo tape with some wilderness buzz in the background. Tomasi should get a nod for her singing — a lovely, lovelorn voice, a little reminiscent of Joni Mitchell — but the music is weak and imitative, with lyrics full of generic, rural pleasantries. The one highlight is “Falcon”, which has some lovely harmony and more melody than many of the other tunes put together (plus, there’s a lot of cicada noise!). All said, this record mostly just moves me to listen to the Great Lake Swimmers’ haunting self-titled debut. Recorded in an abandoned silo in southern Ontario, Dekker and company offer up the quintessential “outdoor” album, stirring up rural-gothic resonances that Tomasi can only dream of.
Andrea Tomasi: Hurricane Dream