Country of origin:
Type of music generally:
Very sweet pop, electronica/dance. Some world fusion touches.
Most recent release, Frolic (2005)
Unofficial fan site
The Ectophiles' Guide entry on Bel Canto
Not so far off Bel Canto in their later, more mainstream phase. But more poppy and sweet. Some of it reminds me of "dance/pop diva" type stuff, some of it is softer, ballad pop.
Anneli has one of the most beautiful voices around. Her solo work runs to sweet pop, electronica, and catchy, dancey tunes. Some of it is quite good, but overall it doesn't do a lot for me. (damon)
Recommended first album:
Tundra only solo release to date
Norway or European disc sites
It's got good bits, but it's not really highly recommended unless you like sweet pop. But that obviously depends on who you talk to! (damon)
OK, in the interests of full disclosure let me state straight out that I am a huge fan of the first three Bel Canto discs, with both Birds of Passage and Shimmering, Warm and Bright being strong candidates for any Desert Island Discs list i draw up. I have their fourth (Magic Box) and find it tolerable, but it's such a disappointment compared to the others that i almost never air it out. So depending on your feelings about later Bel Canto you may or may not want to take this review with a grain of salt.
Unfortunately i find Anneli Drecker's solo release to continue Bel Canto's foray into mainstream, this time strongly in the pop direction. This is not true for the entire album, and don't get me wrong, there are some very good tracks here. It's just that i find they tend to be drowned out by the general mainstream-pop-dance feel of the album, and the sometimes sticky sweetness of much of it. I find it really sad that i can't warm up more to the album as a whole, because i still find Anneli's voice achingly beautiful, but i can't get past the way it's being used on a lot of these tracks.
As i said there are some standout tracks. The title track "Tundra (Mnaiga)" strikes me as worthy of classic Bel Canto, as does the softer but quite powerful "Rainstorm". "Trinitron," which is Anneli singing TV-related words interspersed with a tongue-in-cheek monologue about TV viewing habits, is just plain fun. I'm glad to have the album for tracks like these, and for Anneli's voice, but honestly, it will probably not find its way into the CD player very often.
I don't know much dance-pop to compare the rest to, but to give you some idea the track "It's All Here" somehow reminds me strongly of the Gabrielle song "Dreams" (the one off the Magnolia soundtrack). And "Still Waters" makes me think of Noa's latest eurovision-y leanings—tolerable i guess, but not really somewhere i want to follow the artist. (damon)
Tundra is very dance-oriented, with simple, catchy lyrics. Drecker's singing voice is in fine form, going from classical soprano to exotic oriental and Middle Eastern flourishes at the drop of the hat. The self-penned, produced and programmed pieces at times don't sound out of place on a Hooverphonic, OMD or A-ha CD, as they mix orchestral and techno-influences. Other pieces are more leftfield. The title track is sung in Norwegian, sounds like a rave song and features Sami joik singing in the background. Call it 'Lapp-dance' music! Woebegone is co-produced by Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau Twin) and features a string quartet. The final song, "Song of the Skyloom", Drecker imitates the glottal singing of Eastern Europe with lyrics from a Native American praisesong. Drecker makes her bid to be the Norwegian version of Björk—with a dash of Liz Fraser—and succeeds. (email@example.com)
I just finished reading an article about the recording of Anneli Drecker's solo album. She told a bit about the songs, and quoted one of the lyrics which seemed back in good old Bel Canto era. I haven't been very fond of what they've done lately, so I'm happy about that. She is clearly fed up with the music industry wanting to make a new Björk out of her, and thinks that they should respect her wish to be together with her daughter as much as possible. I'm looking forward to this release.... (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wow, what an album. Anneli's voice alone is pure magic. On Tundra she combines it with real strings and electronic sounds. The album is much better than Bel Canto's Images, more varied and more intense and not as accessible. Only the second song is bit flat, maybe it should become a hit single. The rest varies from melancholic ballads with strings to experimental electronic tunes á la Laurie Anderson ("Trinitron"). (email@example.com)
Anneli Drecker has also appeared on Hector Zazou's and Jah Wobble's recordings.
Thanks to damon for work on this entry.