Sonja Kristina,
(Mandalic, 2005)

Sort of subtitled "The Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack & Virginia," Mask is a wild, wonderful and innovative recording. The package includes a double-sided disc -- a CD on one side and a DVD on the other.

There will be few if any hit singles from this album. It is a sound experience that would not translate to either the 3- to 5-minute time span or easy categorization needed for the top 10, or for most radio stations in fact. This is experimental music using voice, strings, electronica and just about every aural device possible. There is a loving and careful blending and distillation of sound that will draw in any open-minded listeners. You must approach this album without pre-conception.

The tracks meld and segue into one another with ease and little disturbance. You are on track four before vocals in a recognizable form pour forth. By track six, "Blue Words," the lyrics take precedence and then we return to the instruments. The boundaries between the two disappear on the track "Sound of Tears Forming."

This is an album of a new age where our entertainment moves beyond the simple song or even the single song. It is a progression from the "concept" album. Here we have a story without discernable words accompanied by the DVD with images to conjure new worlds and feelings. It is impossible to categorize this album or to predict who will enjoy it most.

No doubt a number of the tracks will lend themselves to the mixing desks of nightclubs and could form the backdrop of your next holiday romance. It is certainly an album worth trying.

by Nicky Rossiter
25 February 2006

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