Bella Boo Once Upon a Passion

Bella Boo Once Upon a Passion
8
Every now and then a record comes along that is so clearly the work of a genuine music lover, the artist's enthusiasm becomes infectious. This debut by Stockholm DJ-cum-producer Bella Boo is packed with bright ideas. It's not difficult to imagine her mining a world-class record collection for inspiration.
 
That is not to suggest the material lacks originality. Once Upon a Passion works in large part because of her ability to steer this multitude of ideas into a singular, 42-minute pleasure cruise. This is easy listening music in its most modern form; all the edges are softly synthetic for a lovely, lovingly produced record.
 
There are moments that will strike some listeners as conventional, but for every "What's up ladies? How y'all doin'?" moment, there are multiple genuinely inspired references to jazz, lounge and ambient pop.
 
Look carefully at that album cover, which portrays Boo pulling vinyl for a gig. Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come is propped up next to the turntable.
 
It is premature to suggest that a track like "Tuesday," with its down-tempo electronics and breathy trumpet, represent what's next in avant-pop. Without question though, it is among the project's high-water marks. Add "Do the Right Thing," featuring Axel Boman and "Flightmode" to the list of highlights — both are picture-perfect chill-out tracks. (Studio Barnhus)