Detail from the Mountain Side

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Having made her solo mark with two entrancing albums on Drag City, Azita followed that up with her third release for the label aiming for something far more minimal -- five short songs totaling ten minutes, which as the album sleeve says were done for, and in collaboration with, playwright Brian Torrey Scott, who commissioned her specifically. The liner notes, briefly discussing the play, concludes by saying "Everything is simple, yet easy to misinterpret," and that's a fair take for the EP itself -- on first blush it seems like nothing more than a quick diversion, but the quintet of pieces (and quintet of performers!) help to demonstrate Azita's continuing ability to create memorable songs that stick in the memory. A song like "Tangly" fulfills the brief of a good musical piece -- anthemic, easy to hum -- while not being a big splashy show tune at all, instead an understated kick and swing. Similarly "Circular Nature" aims for the bigtime with its descending classic-glam melody on piano and marvelous vocals while never sounding strident. Detail from the Mountain Side is a rarity, a self-contained EP that makes its point, interests the listener in finding out more about what it soundtracks, and promises much for the future.

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