by Germar Derron
If modern indie world jazz isn't your thing, then you might think that Vaudevellia! is one uncommonly long song. That's always a good and bad thing. "Monotony" is a word rarely used to describe even the smallest hiccups in a mostly positive experience. Here, monotony equates appropriately to the root word: monotone. But the other side of this similarity coin is consistency.
The project flows. I really don't want to compare it to a river, but the comparison fits. It flows like any perpetual pour might. Whether at a party, in a car, or at home making dinner, a schizophrenic mix of genres and sound can be disruptive and unsettling. Vaudevellia! has the opposite effect. The sound of it massages the soul and calms the spirit.
Personally, I'm professionally jealous. Often, I attempted, and failed, to pair the female voice with piano-based tracks in a way that didn't mask one instrument, and detract from another--resulting in an odd sonic battle. It seems simple, but I found the opposite to be true. We're conditioned to a bed of guitars. Even in jazz, we mentally wait for the region-based solo horn or strings. Without those musical cues or norms, songs typically feel hollow or thin. Meniyka Kiravell, as voice, keys, and producer provides the range, depth, and energy of a full quartet or band. And she masters this throughout the project. It's not a copy and pasted template either. Each song features a unique vocal treatment and style. And through those changes, the flow remains consistent.
That vocal styling, treatment, and timbre keep me invested and intrigued. She flows and blows. It's not Top 40-poppy like late 90s Lauryn or Erykah, but it's definitely poetic.