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Album Review: Journey
Sarah Modene
Cover image of the album Journey by Sarah Modene
Sarah Modene
2007 / Sarah Modene
41 minutes
Review by Michael Debbage
Despite just graduating from high school, please do not age discriminate as the musical maturity of this new arrival is light years ahead of her date of birth. This is the solo debut of Sarah Modene, and should her freshman effort be any indication of what is in store for her listeners then one can only expect good things.

As a reviewer attempting to describe an instrumentalist, one always seems to come along with preconceived tags and labeling. While there appears to be improvisational and classical influences that bring to mind the artists of Michael Jones and David Lanz respectively, Journey has encapsulated what already appears to be a unique style and sound of Sarah Modene. On the opening title track you will immediately notice the lack of upper scale exploration with the focus on the mid to lower scales. As a result, the music of this pianist is deep and vibrant yet not trite nor contrived, just utterly balanced.

By the time you get to “Looking Downward”, the pace is slowed down and you find Modene exploring a greater range on the piano. Nevertheless, she mostly stays at the “pitcher’s mound” right in the middle of her game. As a result, there is a warmth to her music despite the fact that the melodies and movements are not as cliché and obvious. Her complexity is the most pronounced on the lengthy “Remember” that is simply a stellar performance.

The results of Journey are assisted with a quality recording from The Brookwood Studios but it falls short of perfection. The challenging and complex “Drifting” has what sounds like a slight slip of a key at the 2:41 mark as well as one in the closing track. Fortunately, it is barely noticeable first time around. Whether this was simply an oversight on the editing of the album or simply a budget constraint preventing a do over, it’s a correction that would improve upon this already impressive debut.

Despite the above exceptions, Journey is an enjoyable and notable debut excursion for this new arrival. With her distinct sound and style, Modene has started her career with a solid cornerstone. So much so that Journey is probably fully qualified to be one of 2007’s sleepers.
November 11, 2007
This review has been tagged as:
Debut AlbumsMichael's Favorites: 2007
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