Release Date: Nov 13, 2020
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental, Avant-Garde, Experimental Ambient
Los Angeles-based musician Ana Roxanne has a background in sacred Catholic choral singing as well as R&B and jazz vocals. She grew up participating in church choirs throughout her childhood, and additionally enjoyed singing karaoke versions of '80s and '90s R&B hits at her family gatherings. A revelatory trip to India exposed her to classical Hindustani music, and it inspired her to finish her music studies at Mills College.
When the California ambient musician Ana Roxanne reinterpreted "I'm Every Woman"--a Chaka Khan disco classic famously covered by Whitney Houston in 1992--as "I'm Every Sparkly Woman" on her debut EP in 2015, there were multiple levels of meaning nestled inside its rippling oscillations. Most immediately, the song nodded to the '90s R&B that Roxanne's mother and aunts sang at family karaoke sessions after moving from the Philippines to the U.S. Her selection also suggested something about the way Roxanne hears the world: The swirling textures of Roxanne's song echoed the atmospheric introduction to Houston's version, as though Roxanne were finding commonalities between genres seldom mentioned in the same breath.
If you've ever been to visit Kew Gardens' balmy and immersive Palm House in the height of golden summer, and found yourself submerged beneath dense tropical foliage and smeared panes of glass when the sprinklers come to life, hissing and twitching spasmodically from on high, as they leisurely mist the verdant flora below with fine sprays of chilled water, then you've come somewhere near to the pleasure you get from listening to the magical new album Because Of A Flower by Californian ambient musician Ana Roxanne. Containing many of the elements that defined her startling 2019 debut ~~~, these are seven transcendentally harmonious pieces of music that recall the intense delight of cool precipitation upon prickly skin. On the album’s untitled spoken word opening track, Roxanne's reassuring voice gives simple explanation to the manner in which binaries split to fashion rhizomes of potentiality.
Initially recorded in 2015, and self-released in 2017, Ana Roxanne's first record, ~~~, was brimming with raw talent, one of those rare cases where an artist instantly finds their niche. She struck on a quietly potent combination of her voice, profound samples, electronic flourishes and New Age synth work. Secrets of her intersexuality were coded into that record; now they're worn on her sleeve.
Because of a Flower by Ana Roxanne "A Study in Vastness," the second track on Ana Roxanne's new album, Because of a Flower, certainly lives up to its title. A time-stopping, slow-motion surge of breathy loops, it feels like it's expanding in all directions at once. It's ambient music with the human voice front and center, minimal yet full to the brim, the stereo spectrum awash with ecstatic tone.