Review of Dream Magic: Alana Yorke’s Epic Imagination

Alana Yorke. Photo Cherakee Stoddard Alana Yorke. Photo Cherakee Stoddard

This week Halifax native Alana Yorke has released her seven track album “Dream Magic”. The album itself was mixed in Montreal with Arcade Fire’s engineer Mark Lawson. As the title indicates it is every bit dreamy and magical as a listener could expect. However, this album excels these original expectations through the incorporation of a epic cinematic quality that captures a truly out of this world experience. Due to the interplay of grand instrumental approach and Alana’s raw and unconstrained vocals.

The first track “Witchita Years” immerses the listener in a mystical atmospheric sound that slowly introduces a fluttering violin and basic piano melody. Alana’s voice breaks the enchantment revealing a powerful folk like vocals. The song peaks towards a climax, in the background there is chorus of voices chanting accompanied by upbeat drums and furious violin playing. At this point Alana’s voice can be heard saying “I watch you dance in the middle of the stage in the golden years, in that golden place. The Witchita years. I found you in the Witchita years.” Reaching the end, the song has ultimately transformed into a epic screen soundtrack.

“Start Over” and “Time Revisited” integrate an unexpected 80’s synth pop component. The synth appears to lend an energetic tempo to each track while they still retain their ‘mystical’ essence. “Tonight” and “Anthem” are distinguished through their commercial sound compared to the rest of the album. Interestingly, though, the songs provide a their own unique characteristics; “Start Over” incorporates a saxophone solo while “Tonight” combines male vocals.

“Song of the Piano Man” fluctuates and merges between drum beats and Alana’s deeper chanting voice. The track almost resembles music that would be expected at some kind of native or tribal ritual. A piano melody is held steady to provide structure to the song that becomes increasingly chaotic.

The “Forbidden/Hidden Man” provides an intimate account through her lyrics “I was in your hands, the forbidden man” and “We lie together again, dream of our pianos. I look into your eyes.” Her trademark technique of extending and holding her notes through these words portray an emotional sense of longing.

Personally, Alana Yorke’s album “Dream Magic” was a challenge to review due to the difficulty I encountered in classifying it under a specific genre, in addition to its obscure instrumental vocal combinations. Because of the nature of this album it can be deemed that it does not belong anywhere, except in the imagination of its listeners as they are transported into Alana’s world.

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