Full Life - Astrid
Music makes a full life. Astrid would know. As a mother, former venue operator and working musician, music has been an essential element of her day to day. Music enters our lives early often through family. In Astrid’s case the influence was close and impactful. She grew up in the Netherlands, the daughter of noted conductor Wim Sars, an organist who lead Gregorian masses in the cathedrals of Holland. Full Life opens with an apparent homage to this period of her life. ‘Ave Maria Intro/Breathe in Breathe out' echoes with filtered voices floating from the past beneath a beautiful choral aria (a treat for Dutch speakers). The introduction segues into a gentle samba arranged for strings, acoustic guitar and tabla. The second track ‘Tim’s Song’ expresses a mother’s unabashed love for her son. Tim Sars by the way, has followed the family’s musical tradition simultaneously releasing the debut from the Tim Sars Band called ‘Inside Passage’, an antique beat-flavored contemporary take on classical jazz styles. But, back to Full Life which really isn’t a full album in the conventional duration. Merely six selections long, the disc only sacrifices quantity for quality, a trend I predict you’ll be seeing a lot more in today’ singles-driven market place. It’s a lean and exceptionally well-recorded collection. It’s also a west coast expression as the lovely Vancouver waterfront photo by Ann Marie Slater attests. Here in the rain forest, we have to find beauty in even the most muted and grey moments of life. The atmospheric moodiness of Full Life, especially on the inside pairing of ‘This Silent Heart’ and ‘Full Circle’ captures those moments like a Group of Seven painting. Meanwhile, the carnivalesque title track which follows takes us on sonically literal carousel of life. Fans of Cinematic Orchestra and lounge-stylings by projects like Thievery Corporation and Massive Attack will appreciate the floating sensations of Full Life.