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Frances Mai-Ling


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Ethereal alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Chronology (2006)

See also:

Frances Mai-Ling's website

Comparisons:

Hard call. Maybe a touch like Pepper McGowan in that they both are piano-based and have a touch of artful artlessness; some of her more pop tunes have a touch of Mary Lydia Ryan's piano rhythms.

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Electronic keyboard- and piano-based instrumental and vocal music. I liked some of this a lot, and found the piano work in some places especially good. Occasionally the vocals are marred a bit by her tendency to go offkey; I think this may be an intentional point of her arty/artless style but it's a speedbump in my listening experience. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Recommended first album:

We liked both awakening and No Passing Zone

Recordings:

  • one and a half
  • Universal Woman Volume One
  • Ragtime Girl
  • The Tempest 2001: Music Score
  • awakening (2001)
  • taming of the shrew: original music score
  • universouldwomanvolumetwo
  • The Tempest 2001: Original Music Score
  • No Passing Zone (2002)
  • Best Kept Secret (2003)
  • Favorites (2004)
  • Colors of the Sea (2005)
  • Chronology (2006)

awakening

Release info:

2001—DIRM records

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of piano-based music

Group members:

Frances Mai-Ling

Produced by:

Frances Mai-Ling

Comments:

This collection has some quite piano work and some interesting songwriting. Best tracks: "Guilty" (catchy tune and piano); "My Last Excuse" (fun lyrics); "Stronger #8" (lovely, expressive piano instrumental); "The Girl" (good songwriting). (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

No Passing Zone

Release info:

2002—DIRM? Records

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of piano-based music

Group members:

Frances Mai-Ling

Produced by:

Frances Mai-Ling

Comments:

A very nice collection of piano-based songs, some with vocals and some instrumental. It shows off Frances Mai-Ling's skilled piano-playing. Her vocals can be a bit shaky, but sound good in this context.
     "Not be this way" is sweet and moving. "Understatement" is one of the best instrumental pieces. "Ballad" has some of her most vulnerable lyrics and a lovely tune. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Best Kept Secret

Release info:

2003—East West Now Record Group—EWN011

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of mostly instrumental music

Group members:

Frances Mai-Ling—piano, vocals

Produced by:

Frances Mai-Ling

Comments:

Best Kept Secret is a nearly entirely instrumental collection—there is just one song here. It has some truly evocative piano pieces: I especially like "Anticipation", which is truly impressive as it evokes just exactly that feeling. "'Love' for 2 flutes and cello" is nearly equally evocative, as is "Fiddler Forbear" (and all the other solely piano pieces, "Evil Theme", "Homage", and "In the Beat of the Firey Drum", are dynamic and just lovely). The only song here, "Starslider—Sonnet #137", is intriguing and energetic, and Mai-Ling's vocals seems stronger than on previous albums. To my mind, the only missteps are "Caliban's Polka", "Dance of the Imps", and "Carnaval", which seem clichéd, almost silly, to my tastes and detract from this collection for me. Overall, though, the intriguing instrumentals carry this collection—the lesser tracks are easily skipped and in any case others may very well enjoy them as much as I do the rest of the album. (sophiagurley@hotmail.com)

Further info:

Write: Frances Mai-Ling, P.O. Box 81, Spring Grove, IL 60081-8619; email notyoursinger@earthlink.net


Thanks to Sophia Gurley and Anna Maria Stjärnall for their work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2006-08-19 01:06:33.
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