intraspace: the review lounge

Thursday, August 09, 2007

long player by hollie smith

i guess this review is a little late in coming (the album was released a few months ago), but after a long wait i finally picked up this cd at the warehouse last night (thanks to a free voucher i got from answering online questionnaires).

without wanting to provide free advertising for the warehouse (a nz discount retailer), can i just say their prices are amazing for new releases - it looks like nearly everything is NZ$22.95. when i used to work in the music department at the warehouse back in the day, the normal retail price was $29.95 - and even that was cheap compared to other stores that wanted anything up to $33.95. i think this type of price drop is absolutely crucial in this day and age of the digital download, and if the warehouse can do it then there must be a margin, which shows you what the usual mark-up on cds is. with this album costing $17.99 to download on itunes, why wouldn't you fork out the extra $5 and get the cd art and drm-free music?

so anyway, back to the album. hollie smith is hot property in the wellington nz music and has been for quite some time. she released an ep a couple of years ago which was excellent. meanwhile, she engaged in a number of collaborations, most notably fly my pretties. apparently she also had pretty good success with an album of celtic music when she was a teenager (a fact that she is no doubt trying to forget, but you can buy that album from the online shop of historic scotland). after 'long player' came out this year she was promptly signed to a division of blue note records.

'long player' is an incredibly mellow album (maybe a tad too mellow?) that beautifully showcases hollie smith's abilities without overstating them.we have a mixture of 10 cruisey jazz/soul/gospel/funk infused songs. i haven't listened closely enough yet to be able to tell you what she is on about in her songs but it is definitely something soulful. musically, the only disappointment for me was that there is very little dub influence on the album and i love it when hollie sings on dub tracks. but maybe the nz scene has enough dub now (not that i mind - the more dub the merrier).

the album art is also understated but very nice.

'long player' comes highly recommend - great laidback vibe from a supreme talent. get it!

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