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CD REVIEW: Kari Tieger - Illumination
By Cyrus Rhodes - 12/01/2014 - 03:44 PM EST

Artist: Artist: Kari Tieger
Album: Illumination
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Sounds Like: Enya, Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Fairport Convention, Judith Marjorie
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: Montmartre, Ah Poor Bird Tout De Meme
Weakness: Short Sided Songs, Winded Songs
CD Review: Kari Tieger is a Singer/Songwriter and Composer who writes and performs in both English and French, about love, spiritual growth and relationships.  Her compositions traverse seamlessly from the realms of dramatic vampire love lore and songs full of hope for the future, to Neoclassic chamber music and jazzy instrumentals.  Kari's music has also been described as adult contemporary pop with world influences. World-influenced Adult Contemporary Pop songs with hope, promise and a dash of mystery, to aid in one's search for clarity and light. Influences include : Annie Lennox, Buffy St. Marie and Norah Jones.
The CD gently takes to flight with “Music of the Muse” a mesmerizing intro movement that serves up methodical musical build against well placed melodies, guitar, and melodic accents and a striking vocal presence from Tieger. Track 2 “The Way Things Used to be” keeps things moving in the right direction with its breathtaking movement, mesmerizing classical instrumentation and impressive vocal ambiance that peak and valley its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Am Lament” serves up a rather soulful piece with impressive feel against a grand slam chorus and impassioned vocal delivery from Tieger. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic Enya, Sarah McLachlan, Fairport Convention, Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins, Lisa Stansfield, Loreena McKennitt and even Celine Dion. The music itself is an impressive blend of Classical Singer/Songwriter Euro-Folk-Pop with a European flair. All in all it's got a refined Pop aftertaste. Some of this can even be classified as Classical or even “high end” Orchestral Vocal-Pop. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive guitar, sporadic percussive accents, lush harmonies, keyboards, piano, eloquent flute, Celtic ambiance and fretwork and instrumentation, acoustic Guitar, eloquent strings, sporadic percussion all built upon an impressive rhythmic section. Turning our attention now over to Tieger – she has an extremely appealing voice smooth as silk and showcases a crystal clear Mezzo-Soprano with an impressive falsetto and vibrato. Tieger has a unique and infectious vocal persona that is both mystifying, world class and infectious. She has a good look that matches the voice and musical style perfectly. Her vocal emotions at times can be gripping, striking, haunting and at times brilliantly hypnotic. She is a master at sliding into the musical pocket and singing her parts peacefully and unobtrusively. Tieger and her amazing group of players handle all the pin drop moments well. The songwriting provides a lot of musical variety, depth and emotion. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found on this CD. From hooky to my personal favorite “Montmartre” to hypnotic “Ah Poor Bird” to methodical “A Ma Rose” to melodic “Invitation” and “L’amour” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track “15 “Shine so bright” the prefect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. All songs under 3 minutes feel like incomplete statements to me.
From start to finish this latest release “Illumination” from Kari Tieger is a consistent, beautiful and powerful catalog of music. The music is very consistent, well-crafted and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The production strokes: writing and playing abilities of this production are breathtaking. The classical sounding popish melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom. What else would you expect from a gifted artist/vocalist like Keri Tieger.

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