Saturday, August 6, 2022

Music Reviews: Debra Devi: Jamification Station Volume 1

Debra Devi
Jamification Station Volume 1
Decades ago I used to agree with some classical or jazz musical snobs (critics and musicians) that live performances without any overdubs were the "real" measure of talent because after all as everyone knew, overdubs were only used to show off unnecessarily or fix mistakes. If you really were about your business you would bring it live. 

This was of course bulls***!  
Any talented musician, composer, or performer will make you recognize his or her skill regardless of the tools or environment that he or she uses. However I do enjoy listening to live music. There's still something special to me about hearing musicians perform in real time with no net.

With the onset of the Covid Pandemic the singer and musician Debra Devi wasn't as able to perform live at concerts as she had previously. Undeterred, she and her band created a number of weekly livestream concerts, some of which Devi recently produced and released as the EP Jamification Station Volume 1. No overdubs, no retakes-what you hear is how it was.

There are three original songs and one cover. Vocally, Devi has a clear high soprano which can sometimes be drowned out by bass, drums, and guitar.

Fortunately that wasn't the case here. The EP usually has a good contrast between Devi's vocals, her guitar, and the rest of the band. There's especially fun interplay between Devi's guitar and Martin Schmid's keyboards. 

With some bands chordal instruments like guitars and keyboards can get in each other's way. That doesn't happen here, not least because Devi and Schmid are listening to each other.

Devi's guitar solos are muscular and incisive without becoming turgid. The longest piece is five minutes but it doesn't feel over stuffed. Before Devi sang Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic" I had forgotten that the lyrics are about the singer (a man) telling a woman despite the fun they had he's gotta go because there's better things on the other side of town. It is interesting to hear this song gender flipped. 

I like slower music so "Get Free" is likely my favorite song, with a very nasty solo that is reminiscent of some of Robin Trower's work. Close behind that is "The River" which seemingly is about lost love, always a good artistic topic. The EP has good production values. The bass is thick and defined without booming. The drums don't drown out other musicians. An EP release should make you look forward to the artist's future plans. I think that Jamification Volume 1  did that.  Give it a listen anywhere you get your streaming.