Maria Minerva - Will Happiness Find Me?
Estonian producer and musical game-changer Maria Minerva manages to make you feel like a sheltered, slightly gawky and awkward youngster with her latest full length, Will Happiness Find Me? . It feels almost prohibited; your very own dirty little secret as her tappings at a ridiculously large motherboard come together to form 11 mysterious tracks.
Short opener 'The Star' traverses a 20's style tea dance sample that rearranges itself with some of her breathtaking vocals, a warm haze of reverb and some deep synths. Contrastingly, the low-fi waves of 'Mad Girl's Love Song' prove to be on a reggae path, forcing a smile out of any potentially acne-ridden faces of teens who come across this rare gem before they are promptly aghast. The heady and oriental beats of 'Never Give Up' that come in at over 6 minutes, make her third LP outing all the more unusual and exquisite.
The brilliantly titled 'Perpetual Motion Machine' is not only deserving of an award for its title though, as frenetic beats crowd your mind ahead of more stunning vocals. "Life is just a dream..." she soothes in her relaxed and in no way patronising tones. Right now, you're immersed in what could be a Molotov cocktail of drugs; and it's an eye opening experience. It's also perfectly legal. Chase Royal's appearance on 'Fire' meanwhile, takes the album to a new level of hipster and direction.
Almost empowered by the aforementioned Royals involvement, the latter stage of the album takes a deep gulp of air in and then runs full pelt into the distance. 'Sweet Synergy' provides funky rhythms whilst 'Alone In Amsterdam' forms something which you can fall back onto and come back to earth with, in a positively jungle sounding environment. The title track is another highlight of the accomplished producer's handicraft, and 'The Sound' really does close things on a highpoint, a kind of mellow drum and base meets Asian culture. There's nothing wrong with that, and Minerva's vocals stand head and shoulders above the rest here, with a huge dollop of excellent production heaped in too.
Engulfed in changing cultures herself and recorded in Lisbon last winter, Minerva might be happy to say that this album is the one for hippies, full of "really weird songs" as she recently announced in an interview, but it's a mind-boggling collection. Warped and maybe even a little bit dizzying at times, it's pretty experimental, and yet even beneath her creative experimentation, she manages to live up to her Greek goddess style name with vocals to match.