Marie e le rose (Tuscan artist Rosa Marie Sarri) has written and produced a rather eclectic 5-track EP, calling on various traditions to present a unique but not uniform production. The pleasure is in hearing what she’ll do next; the drawback is that she does so many things well it’s hard to distinguish a signature sound.
The tribal title track is sparse, but it’s an effective opener. The changes arrive soon afterward. The EP highlight “Chiudi gli occhi e guardami (Close your eyes and see me) is a beautifully restrained piano piece reminiscent of Sophie Hutchings. One suspects this is the work of guest pianist Gaia Palesati, one of many friends whose contributions make the set seem like the work of a full band. A darker edge creeps in as the piece progresses, to the point that the fingers seem to be (intentionally) falling off the keys. This unsettling sheen is amplified by the cry that opens the next track, which makes use of the same percussion as the first, enhancing it with coos and trills. The track stops midway to gather strength before proceeding with Middle Eastern inflections, calling to mind the later catalog of Dead Can Dance. By the next track, the stylings have turned to light flamenco; and by the closer, dubstep has made an appearance as well.
While Sarri does everything well here, the EP is not long enough to get a read on the artist. Is she a world music troubadour, a percussive explorer, or simply a dabbler in different fields? The next challenge will be to focus on a style that she can call her own. (Richard Allen)