Monday, September 29, 2008

Ellen West ~ Preparing To Be Forgotten

While listening to Ellen West's CD, "Preparing to be Forgotten", I knew immediately that this artist would not live up to title of her 6 track debut CD. Preparing to be Forgotten was recorded at The Boathouse in the winter of 2006 in Buffalo. Ellen West IS Michele Buono or maybe Michele Buono is Ellen West. Either way, Ellen West is the alias Michele Buono takes on when playing solo acoustic shows.

The group Ellen West is composed of: Michele Buono as lyricist/lead guitar/graphic design with Jen Sojka on cello and Justin on piano. This is her solo debut, combined with session instrumentalists. Ellen is also a member of the band The Missing Planes.

Poetic influence is apparent in the manner that she titles her songs. It is reminiscent of the beats of the 50's. It is no surprise that the name Ellen West is derived from a tune by Throwing Muses. This CD is akin to taking Joni Mitchell, Meg White, and Neil Young, mixing them with indie dreamwave folk then tossing in a bit of punk pop. Ellen's guitar chords are precise and her vocals are yearning and mournful in nature. Instrumentation such as piano and cello, and an echo chamber effect on Track 2 brings this CD full circle in getting her spirit across.

Track 3, "Great Escape," begins with cascading acoustics and cello, painting a musical landscape. Ellen's vocals compliment this piece beautifully. The cello cries along with Ellen's strumming. Mid song, the strings gain momentum followed by vocals: ". . . as if I've got some-thing . . . to prove."

Ellen's playing is mind blowing.

A slow, melodic pace can be heard in the 4th track, "Winning Isn't Everything." The piano adds a sing-songy dreamlike rhythm. Ellen bursts forth in the middle with: " . . . you've bro-ken a trust, now I'm at a loss." This tune is so peaceful musically, it's reminiscent of a lullaby, though lyrically it is quite solemn. Ellen plays with her heart and writes of her truth. This is, by far, my favorite on the entire CD. An instant hit.

Haunting yet sultry, "An Empty Room" is a ballad. The instrumentation brings a harpsichord quality to this song. One gets the feeling that notes are being played off key when indeed everything is composed in complete perfection.

Connect to Ellen West by visiting: http://www.myspace.com/ellenwest. She is a rare breed and far surpasses mainstream acoustics. Ellen manages to meld classical into punk, erotica to pain, jealousy to love, and hope into hunger in a mere 6 songs. Grab her CD and check out her band: http://www.themissingplanes.com/.

Prepare to be enlightened.
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