- Crystallising the embryonic magic of her debut.
- Initially recorded in 2015, and self-released in 2017, Ana Roxanne's first record, ~~~, was brimming with raw talent, one of those rare cases where an artist instantly finds their niche. She struck on a quietly potent combination of her voice, profound samples, electronic flourishes and New Age synth work. Secrets of her intersexuality were coded into that record; now they're worn on her sleeve. Because Of A Flower pieces together a similar set of songs to ~~~, but with a more open and assured mindset.
Because Of A Flower's spoken-word introduction, a quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, places intersexuality and harmony side-by-side: "One has produced Two, Two has produced Three. These words mean that One has been divided into Yin, the female principle, and Yang, the male principle. These two have joined, and out of their junction has come a third, Harmony." Via Lao-tzu, Roxanne simultaneously alludes to how a compound of simple sounds can make complex ones, and how intersex people defy gender dualism. These themes—as well as a metaphor about the fluidity of water on "Venus"—demand a curious and introspective headspace which colours the listening experience.
Elsewhere, the vocals are scarcely intelligible, at least from the serene mood this record imparts. The concepts are instead hinted at by intimate, almost AMSR-like whispers. Roxanne's voice and her synths' devotional ambience melt into one, recalling Alice Coltrane's transcendental Turiya Sings. When everyday voices enter "Camille," the imagined space returns to earth. It's as if Roxanne needs to ground the lofty narrative in a tangible reality, to remind us the issues she addresses are a part of daily life.
Roxanne's message is also, though more ambiguously, delivered by non-verbal gestures. In a passive yet profoundly affecting way, the free-flowing, angelic tones of "A Study In Vastness" exude vulnerability and solitude. "- - -," the only instrumental track, stirs emotive release with reverberating loops of light percussion, like a subdued take on Midori Takada's style. The melodies on "Suite Pour L'Invisible" are bright and hopeful, suspended in so much space that they belie their own simplicity. Silky bass and the most overt rhythm make "Camille" the climax in terms of energy, though elsewhere Roxanne's stunning vocal range, or the breathtaking, plucked guitar closer "Take The Thorn, Leave The Rose," peak the album's tenderness.
Ana Roxanne has a gift for translating deeply personal matters into stunning music, without ever sounding too matter-of-fact. "I must stay true to the part of me that cannot be held," she sings on "Venus," "to the part of me that is beyond touch." Because Of A Flower's introverted euphoria is open to soundtrack any journey of self-discovery.
02. A Study In Vastness
03. Suite Pour L'invisible
04. - - -
07. Take The Thorn, Leave The Rose