Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Ever since I opened the floodgates over two months ago to new and upcoming musical artists and bands, I've received an immense amount of content - some good, some compellingly brilliant, and some painstakingly awful. (Fortunately for them, I decline to take a good look into those ones...) My next 'Independent Spotlight' artist is Mirra Jensen, and she blows the rest of them out of the water when it comes to the intriguing nature of how she is recording her music.
The four mixes, 'Coventry Carol,' 'O Holy Night,' 'Midnight Clear,' and 'Angels From The Realms of Glory' are as you know them in their original capacity, though they have a modernized, electronic flare to them. They're shimmery, well produced, and punchy. Sometimes the production makes it sound a bit like a Japanese toy commercial, pushing the electronic mix to the forefront and blindsiding Jensen's voice. This is a shame, because her voice is stunning. She's hitting every major note that you know and love, and she's doing so with exceptional accuracy and attention to detail. Jensen's haunting voice forgives any slightly-cheesy overproduction.
'Midnight Clear' in particular is quite beautiful. Jensen sings her own harmonies in different keys and they blend together in holiday bliss. A twangy electric guitar accompanies her and is a solid reprieve from the electronic produced nature of 'O Holy Night.' 'Coventry Carol' returns to the production style of 'O Holy Night,' but the mix on this track pushes Jensen outward, whereas 'O Holy Night' drowns her. Finally, 'Angels From The Realm of Glory' has a very pretty orchestral accompaniment, drawing Disney-esque imagery around Jensen's voice. In actuality, the Disney comparison isn't far off the mark - Mirra Jensen has the sound of a Disney vocalist.
Now, though, we must enter the realm of why I said Jensen is incredibly different from previous artists I have spotlighted. Each song has been tuned utilizing the ancient 'Pythagorean Tuning,' which is the application of pure ratios in the scale, rather than equally spaced intervals. In complete honesty, the word 'pythagorean' doesn't do much besides breathe new life into memories of my high school terror days in geometry class. Fortunately, Jensen's work on these songs is all part of research she is conducting on the subject for a PhD.
She's produced a very interesting video on the subject, and can explain it far better than I ever could. I'll add the video below. Musically, however, I can speak to the brilliance of these recordings. They are beautiful songs, and Jensen's own twist on them makes them even more memorable. Add them to your playlist this holiday season.