2010 / Bijou Records
Review by Michael Debbage
While Stephan Moccio has embraced the ears of his homeland for several years, stateside he is relatively unknown. Nevertheless many of you may have already been exposed to the contagious music of this latest Canadian musical import via his collaborations with the likes of Celine Dion, Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman. When you think of these artists a few adjectives would be stirring, sensational, sensitive and sophisticated. Needless to say all of these attributes and a plethora of similar complimentary adjectives would accurately describe the music found on Stephan Moccio’s sophomore effort Color.
Moccio’s debut recording took place back in 2006 entitled Exposure. This was a more stripped down yet elegant foretaste into the musical world of Stephan Moccio. Despite its lack of musical accompaniment, the freshman effort was very impressive. Canada promptly embraced their new found musical hero but unfortunately the musical exposure, for the lack of a better word did not extend to the US. The amazing results of his most current release Color should change all that.
The transformation from one release to another is polarized best courtesy of the simply breathtaking and gorgeous “Violette” which has to be one of the best written instrumental songs in most recent times. The composition opens with Moccio in a melancholy mood but as the song progresses he supplements the track with orchestration that includes strings and a very subtle use of the woodwinds. If this song does not move you then it might be time for your physical as you might have a hearing issue. The enduring 5 minutes of this heavenly piece of music is strikingly endearing and nothing short of brilliant.
Similar ecstatic results can be found on the opening track “Life” that brings to mind some musical attributes of fellow Canadian producer/writer David Foster. Similarities to Foster can also be found on the elegant “Soleil” but this is still all about the new talent Moccio. Other very fine moments can be found on the more temperamental “PDG” and classically stirring “Leopold” while the reflective “Chouchou” sounds like a perfect match for a very powerful movie scene. Meanwhile, despite revisiting “October” that he initially recorded on his debut, this time around Moccio fleshes out the song with orchestration which makes not only this encore a success but also an outstanding way to conclude Color.
The greater hues and more colorful songs on Moccio’s sophomore effort are certainly those that have a greater structure and larger framework in which to allow his music to breathe and live. Though the multiple brief sketches and interludes are impressive, at times they are teasers resulting in Color being somewhat of an enigma. That said, Moccio himself stated that “One of my favorite things is moving people through music…and I feel like I’ve just begun”. If Moccio is true to his word, considering the stupendous results of Color one can only imagine the rainbow of emotion next time around may just come in the form of a double rainbow of musical passion.
July 18, 2011
Review by Kathy Parsons