Laurel MacDonald Luscinia's Lullaby

The third disc from Canadian singer/composer Laurel MacDonald, Luscinia’s Lullaby, offers a delirious mix of auditory atmospheres and world music stylings, and as such, is one of the more interesting offerings to come from a Toronto-based artist in recent history. MacDonald not only sings, she experiments, whether this be with chant-style lyrics or seductive repetitions or simply melancholy musings. Backed by seven equally talented musicians, the arrangements organically follow suit, the beds of sparse but melodic instrumentation set the stage to showcase and bolster her exceptional talents. These are sometimes very rhythmic and modern, while at others they are slow, musty and full of the feeling of a smoky late night jazz club; and yet at others still, seemingly from another place on earth/in history. A heady world of diversity that would probably seem strange and forced on another artist’s CD, but on Luscinia’s Lullaby the transitions and explorations translate into something completely natural — a progression between different but complimentary musical points. The mix is near-perfect — MacDonald and producer Philip Strong’s background in film scoring is clearly evident here. A genuinely rare local treat for anyone who enjoys the unexpected. This CD will stir you. (Improbable)