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14.1.12

Tylean - 'Formaldehyde EP' (Bast Records) 4.5/5

Darkwave / alternative singer songwriter and self confessed 'cello rapist' TyLean originally hails from Wapwallopen in the USA, but these days is based in London, UK. Over the past few years she has served up a trio of really quite remarkable albums, that featuring just keyboards, vocals and cello, explore the darkest textures of the human condition with an insight that few artists can match. Now we have 'Formaldehyde' a four track EP of finely presented slices of musical darkness to add to her canon of works.

Now if your not familiar with this ladies work, be warned. This is not easy listening, far from it, TyLeans music makes the likes of Bjork sound mainstream. But please don't take that as a negative comment. This is very very good stuff, it's just very very dark.

We start off with Love Always Dies, a dark and downbeat tale of lost romance that speaks of 'sleepless nights and tearful goodbyes', Tyleans vocals are bleak and sorrowful, and they are rocked gently along with a simple piano line and a haunting cello solo. Next up there's The Dark The Blue and The Grey, a moody and brooding piece that is almost disturbing in delivery, with its discordant chords, heartbeat rhythms and multilayered  vocal lines. Then there's Big Hearts that spins off into a dark jazz vibe, almost like a gothic Billie Holiday, all late night piano and heart rending lyrics; and then to conclude there is Amputation Of A Heart, in my book the real stand out track on this impressive EP., with its free form intro, sawing cello riffage and almost operatic vocals. Spine tingling stuff.

So we have the songs here, and I'm glad to say we have the performance as well. TyLeans vocals are some of the very best, she can take in everything from heart broken whispers to primal screams, from jazzy resignation to operatic resolution like very few others can. Add in the fact she can play a mean piano line that steps well away from the expected cliche and she can use a cello to add attitude, attack and atmosphere and you have here a four tracker that is a real gem.

And there's more. It seams TyLean is not only a musician of extraordinary talent, but she is a bit of a painter. This ep comes with her original art work on the cover and with more original paintings to illustrate each track, now I'm no art critic, but I know what I like and I love the artwork as much as I'm loving the ep.

In short - Another winner from TyLean

For Fans of... Bjork, Tori Amos, Errin Williams, etc......

For more info and details how to get hold of this ep...  http://www.tylean.com

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