So far, the success of Björk and Sigur Ros has marked Iceland as a hotbed for original music. Will there be more cutting-edge artists exported from this small, isolated country? Though she doesn't produce any otherworldly ideas on her debut, Aria could be the next in line. Blending trip-hop, lounge, hip-hop, and global sounds on Haze, the classically trained singer (born Maria Björk Glick) offers a diverse selection of arrangements. The sublime opening track, "Bring Down the Light," brings to mind the coolness of St. Etienne, as Aria's whispery vocals sail across misty strings and chill-out beats. Haze is able to maintain the vibe on "Orange Meadows" and "My Stoned Wings," but it's hard to imagine why she'd want to disrupt the pace with misplaced rapping on "A State of Mind" and the second version of "Ariella" (featuring words from Subterranean and Cell 7). Besides those minor missteps, Haze is a promising debut.
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AllMusic Review by Kenyon Hopkin