As the name suggests, Tara Kannangara’s debut album Some Version Of The Truth may be guided by experiment or experience. Evidence directly from the music suggests a little bit of both and the results are not simply refreshing; they are really impressive. While a lot of debut albums sound nervous and often overworked, this performance by Tara Kannangara is cool, studied and serious; just as she appears on stage and she nails this programme of eight taut originals, one by Radiohead and another ‘standard’. Whatever she is playing Kannangara’s somewhat minimalist, anthemic and architectural music constantly ascends to remarkable heights as it unravels in vivid detail.
Remarkably, Tara Kannangara – both as a trumpet/flugelhorn player as well as a vocalist – appears to have an approach to music that is already well-formed and mature. She has a gorgeous style, which is deceptively simple; her limpid, euphonious tone artfully leavening her logical but nonetheless oblique and unpredictable melodic thinking. The added support of empathetic musicians – pianist Chris Pruden in particular gets inside the music – makes this set a must-have. Tara Kannangara is, of course, the main attraction, a musician with a highly individual voice, who combines the tone of a snake charmer with the attack of the snake itself. Her melodic lines are beautifully moulded, her chords are hushed and climaxes are gorgeous and the dying fall in the music’s dénouement is often subtly atmospheric.
But the group sound is lent an almost eerie dimension by Pruden’s luminous piano playing as well as the guitar of Colin Story, both of whom provide a prism for Kannangara’s jumpy improvisation to pass through. Song titles like ‘Sound The Alarm’, ‘Fractured’ and ‘Batter My Heart’ are clues to the creative stimuli at work in the studio. And while you’re left marvelling at the original work presented here, you are also sure to be in a dead swoon over the haunting version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘Edelweiss’. It’s all edgy music for troubled times.
Track List: Sound The Alarm; Stand in Line (Intro); Stand in Line; Atoms for Peace; Good On The Ground; Edelweiss; Swimming; Fractured; The House Where I Live; Matter My Heart.
Personnel: Tara Kannangara: trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Colin Story: guitar; Chris Pruden: piano; Julian Anderson: bass; Mackenzie Longpre: drums.
Release date: September 2015
Running time: 49:14