Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

A friendly place to discuss Moya's 2017 studio album

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Re: Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

Postby Yvonne » Thu May 11, 2017 5:52 pm

Phantas wrote:I can't post a full review yet, but I do know that "Where We Once Met" is probably already my favourite song. ]


Oh yes, that is also my favourite song, it is so haunting and beautiful! I will read your review when you're ready!

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Re: Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

Postby Phantas » Sat May 13, 2017 1:05 pm

OK, I'm gonna try to review Canvas....

River of Songs kicks us off, almost in the vein where Two Horizons left us... a haunting folk intro leads into what sounds like a campfire song, but with an Irish twist :) It's a very touching, lovely song... it's a bit of a soft opener for me, so it didn't leave an impression immediately. However, it's very lovely. It';s bittersweet a bit, melancholic but hopeful and joyful at the same time.

A Portrait of my life - I love the opening sounds, is it a harp being tuned? Or strings being touched? For me, this was straight away the song that caught my attention when I first played it. Familiar Moya territory, Clannad-esque but with the Moya touch. Haunting, mystical, cool and warm at once. It's a bit of a linear song melodically... but it's very captivating.

Nuair a Bhi (muid) Og - The first Gaelic song in Moya's solo repertoire again since Signature, and it's a right whopper! The chorus really is the hook of this song! It's immediately clear that it's Moya's first language as she is soo fluent in singing in it, she doesn't just sing it, it flows from her vocal chords as if it's not language but sound itself. Love Love Love the harmonies in the chorus.

Going Home - a bit more jazzy, a bit less electronic. A bit of a sleeper song for me, not one that catches my ear easily. not bad, but not a stand out track.

Children of War - Radio transmission sounds start off the song, and lead into a sombre tone of violin or guitar... then it quickly changes to harp and Moya's vocal, very light and bright against the opening. This has a bit of a lull to it... it's not a major track (although it's the longest on the album) but it stays rather demure in nature when one considers the subject Moya sings about. Personally I'm not a huge fan of this one, it lacks a bit of atmosphere throughout for me.

Where we Once Met - Children of war does set up the next song extremely well tho - after the heaviness comes the highlight of the album for me, and easily my favourite. It's almost like a ghost song, a ghost night... Love the (I think) Gaelic running chorus throughout, and the lyrics are poetic and paint with magic a haunting picture. The harp is so clear in this one... the mixture of harmonies and harp is exquisite. Everytime I think about it I think it's a more upbeat, faster track but every time I play it I realize it isn't...it's actually pretty slow - but the harmony chorus propels it forward like a slowly moving stream through a forest... [there's that river of song again] ... Since it's Eurovision week, I could easily see Moya singing a song like this at Eurovision if she would be interested. <3

Do'n Phaiste Og - ah drums! percussion at last! This hearkens back to Misty Eyed Adventures times... I've no clue what it's about, but that has never stopped me from appreciating Brennan music heehee... it's not as much an instant hit as Nuair a Bhi Og but it's another stand out Gaelic track on the album. Also a nice song after two heavy and slower songs.

You Never Know - This one stands out for me as well as Where We Once Met - WWOM is the stronger one but this one has a really awesome chorus/rhythm. There are traces of the kids' involvement everywhere on the album, and if I had to say which song had the most modern approach, I'd say it's this one. IMHO, Moya should follow up with another solo album soon with songs in the vein of this one and WWOM.

The Duel - for me, the first proper darker song by Moya. Her songs are usually light and breezy, even the more heavy ones or the solemn ones. This one has very dark music, and a foreboding nature to it in a good way! Another song about Cu Chullain (pardon my spelling), Ireland's most famous legend, this song reminds a bit of the Mediaeval Baebes album 'Mirabilis' - on it they have a song called "Tam Lin" - it's similar in style, with musical effects, spare music and strong vocals and also telling a story/fairytale. The second longer song (5:09m) and this one is a favourite.

Where You Belong - another one of those songs that sounds really good but leaves little impression... naturally it's hard after The Duel to have a song that lingers...

Banrion - a Lovely instrumental with vocalise at the end, closing the album.

I'll have to give this album some more extensive listens although I've been playing it almost non-stop this week... it still has to "embed" into my core a bit so this is just a preliminary review really... a lot of songs have stuck in but a few more have to grow on me a bit further :)

Overall I love the modern touches and approaches to song and music (music could be a little more diverse IMHO, it's a lot of harp driven songs) and it definitely has become a favourite to play. It's really relaxing to listen to, for the future I hope Moya will explore the story-telling songs like The Duel a bit more, I love this darker, more mysterious side to her work and she can pull it off well :)
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Re: Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

Postby dids » Sat May 13, 2017 1:14 pm

thanks for your review Phantas... :wink:
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Re: Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

Postby Angoid » Tue May 16, 2017 4:15 pm

Thanks Phantas .... well-written review!

TBH I haven't got hold of this album (yet) ... I downloaded Banrion on ITunes and it's a really lovely instrumental as you say.
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Re: Canvas - My impressions after the very first listening

Postby Phantas » Wed May 17, 2017 1:21 pm

thanks guys :)

Angus, you should try and get a hold of it - it is worth every penny. [not that you should splurge lol]
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