Tawni Bias: SEL Fellow

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Tawni Bias
SEL Fellow
(Self Released)

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Thirty-three seconds of weird trumpet bleats and warble vocal slips and slides us on “Admonition” into the beginning of the flicky beat of “Two Poodles One Cake,” the opening tracks on Tawni Bias’ latest album, SEL Fellow. The unique floaty vocal with the moody soundscape sets us off on the journey of these nine songs from this producer from Calgary.

We get some string fits and starts, and again gated effects on the interesting layering of slightly unintelligible vocals on “Flare Intropin,” and blips and bleeps, plucked guitar, and swirling vocal effect (even though wildly unintelligible as most here, still very effective) on my favorite song here, “Gossamer.” I just love this song’s snapping beat.

“Pulling Starch” finally gives us a clear shot at understanding a vocal. Of course, there are auto-tune effects here; SEL Fellow is laden with this kind of attention to the vocals, which I know is the point, but works as well as doesn’t in equal measure here, I feel. But the vocals on this 3rd to the last tune and a solid plodding beat and arpeggiating keys brings the heady concoction home.

A strummed acoustic moves the last song, “Bantry,” along. The high warble vocal seems to be trying to find a melody, this sounds more like a demo than a fully realized acoustic snippet, and I am not sure the best way to end an overall interesting release from Tawni Bias.

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