So how does a classically trained musician make contemporary music without going off the edge with drivel that passes for pop? Look to Jane Lui for one answer. With her third full-length album, Goodnight Company, the talented artist is a multi-instrumentalist who produces music injected with soulful, near-operatic female vocals that are sometimes labeled as chamber pop. Other times, Lui's music reminds one of Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos and Imogen Heap — the latter comparison speaking to haunting melodies tinged with electronic elements.
Even with the musical comparisons, Lui's music is still hard to define. From acoustic guitar picking on "Illusionist Boy" to strong bass lines and whispers of strings on "Jailcard" to a cover of "Edelweiss," one may love some songs and loathe others. While tunes on Goodnight Company vary in style, the album still manages to come together under Lui's musical identity.
And it's a rich sound, sometimes with more vocals than instrumentation and vice versa. In either case, this complexity warrants several listens to flesh out the sounds. Even if one does not proclaim to be a fan of any of the above-mentioned genres or artists, Lui's talent should be enough to at least pique one's curiosity.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!