Monday, August 23, 2021

Indie Music: Jordana Talsky "Zahava"

by Germar Derron

THIS. is a vibe.

This EP ends a recent debate that I stumbled upon. In a song, what's more important, the vocals or the instrumental? On Zahava, Jordana Talsky responds, "why not both?"

In that debate, most commenters agreed that the instrumental trumps the vocals because: 1) instrumental tracks are released regularly (apparently acapella doesn't exist), and 2) no one ever yells, "that was a dope melody/harmony," but they do say "that's a dope beat." Of course this argument equates to "what makes the PB&J tasty? The peanut buttare or the fruit gialay?" But I still might revisit that thread and drop a link to Zahava.

Of course, the vocals here are as smooth and as sweet as anything that any mortal could ever produce. But Zahava does two things better than any musical project of the last couple of decades--it's consistent, and it tells a story.  

Even though, this is one voice doing many things for multiple tracks, it never feels sluggish or monotonous. It feels themed. There's a purpose here. And just when it almost feels like, "been there done that," "Trouble Up" kicks you right in your good ear drum.

"Trouble Up" plays a bit more warm, more rough, and more serious than the previous tracks. But it does still fit into Zahava's theme. If this is a story, this song represents the project's most tense rising action, and maybe climax. And that resolution, the tying of loose ends, comes on the next track, "City Lights."

Something about "City Lights" feels like a call and response. No, lyrics aren't repeated and questions aren't asked. But the lyrical statements somehow sound like a conversation. And the backing "oooo" and "hhoowww" somehow answer that unasked question.

On the final track, "Honey"--which may mirror the intro, "Superpower," offering a slowed down response to its call--her story, her sound, and her journey ends. This overall storytelling structure, even as a musical collection, is not novel, but maybe M.I.A. for awhile. And maybe it hasn't been missing, it just hasn't been executed this well.

I really appreciated the ride.


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