‘The Artist’ is six minutes fifty-two seconds of jazzy, (initially) lounge-bar piano-led (mostly-) instrumental composition, part musical movement, part art piece, rotating its way through guitars, samples, and orchestral instrumentation and percussion, always with the same repeating melody-line. It’s freeform, experimental, and hugely ambitious, with multiple layered tracks compounding that repetitive ostinato phrase; apparently three years in the making and a month to mix, with ambient background-chatter samples, reverb-soaked drums, strings, and that constant piano, programmed TR-808 patterns and electronic instrumentation, and even the smash of a glass. There’s twists and turns, rests and pauses, pitch-shifts and tempo and timbre-changes, classical finger-picked guitar mixing with engineered notes and sampled speech, but always a return to the familiar, beautiful piano refrain. It’s an absolute work of art, delicate, potent, and powerful, and a definite labour of love. A stunning, sublime achievement.
There are certain musical styles that never seem to find a wider audience no matter how much talent can be found within. Weightless by Jessica Curran is a track that just might be able to pull in some pop diehards to appreciate the sounds of analog instruments and soulful sway. If vape lounges growing like weeds across America can signal anything for music, can it mean a concerted effort to bringing lounge music into fashion? Please?
This is a song built for stage and yet the recording doesn’t feel burnt from a lack of context. Curran’s stunning vocals are enough to pull the listener into a more intimate scene where without facial expressions, without bodily movements, without an atmosphere of coffee and socializing, we can still feel like we’re experiencing something. Weightless balances jazzy basslines and piano with a string arrangement that powerfully takes over in moments when vocals are absent. There’s never a dull moment and it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to hear anything else once Curran starts singing. This is a well-crafted song and we can only hope it’s an omen of the future.