Spirals & Mazes
Moulann: Spirals & Mazes by Dan Kimpel In a stunning litany of sophisticated yet accessible songs, Toronto-based singer/songwriter Moulann channels her effervescent creativity into themes of love, hope, longing and loss - and a requiem for the death of a favorite pair of blue jeans. One her second full length CD release, Spirals & Mazes, orchestral sonic wizardry, courtesy of producers Adam King, Adam Messenger, and Mark Pellizzer, frames her warm, confiding vocals with world-class productions and eloquent arrangements. Searching a twilight sky for the soul of a friend in "The Train," comparing two lovers to stars, one of whom "sucked the other's helium," in "Supernova" or evoking the transient lure of attraction in the lines, "it's so easy to confuse the rush with the real thing," in "What is Love," her songs reveal the heart and soul of an evolving young woman who understands the value of strong singable hooks. "Even though I'm harmonically indulgent at times, I keep the melodies accessible because I realize that in the end I'm still making pop music," she qualifies. Like many Asian kids, Moulann, a first generation Canadian, was raised to revere the music of the deceased European masters. She wasn't permitted to listen to anything pop until she was 14, and even then it was only Mandarin pop from Taiwan. With the new millennium, she began going out to see live music in Toronto, permitting a wide range of influences to infiltrate her writing. "I'm totally clued out when it comes to any pop music before the mid-Nineties. I heard 'Stairway to Heaven' for the first time last summer," she says. But it could explain the elusive elements in her songs that make music journalists stumble over their metaphors. "I think that where my deprivation came in handy," she notes. "People can't pinpoint what I sound like!" Meeting an accomplished producer (Adam Messinger) during university introduced her to the alchemy of the recording studio, where she spent three years slowly experimenting to create Introflective, the outpouring of songs that was to become her first album. As cathartic and crucial as this milestone was to her artist's journey, Moulann didn't perform this material live. "There were a lot of sad, depressing and self-pitying songs," avows the songstress. Still, with virtually no press or publicity, the release sold out of it's initial pressing: testimony to the power of the World Wide Web. Taking a respite after the album's birth, she retreated into various pursuits, from completing school to rediscovering Bach, and "battling a mild addiction to bubble tea." But something even more intoxicating was rising to the surface, a dazzling cycle of new material. "I started writing in the style that was more reflective of my live sound. In my head, this album is really my debut -it reflects where I am musically right now." She explains that all the songs in Spirals & Mazes were written in response to a personal search. "Whenever I felt an emptiness I used music to fill the void: whether it's about love, or loss of life, or not being able to find the right pair of jeans." Oh yes, those pants. In "Baby Blue Hip-Huggin' Jeans" Moulann mourns the loss of her beloved faded denim as she sings, "as a team, we made strangers honk their horns." As a cutting-edge singer/songwriter, Moulann's seductive voice and melodies contrast perfectly with her sharp lyrical narratives. Self-effacing, joyous, and remarkably candid: Moulann's gift is in taking the most ordinary moments and illuminating them into sparkling soundscapes of wonder and magic.