Ela Stiles – Kumbh Mela (Single Review)

Rating:

While Ela Stiles has apparently built quite the personal legacy on the local music scene in Sydney, Australia, it’s not unlikely that she has yet to be widely discovered elsewhere as a musician. Yet on June 2, she will be releasing a solo, self-titled and entirely a-cappella album via Bedroom Suck Records and it promises to be an interesting one to say the least.

The first track released from the album, “Kumbh Mela”, makes it painstakingly clear what can be expected from an album of this nature. A lone voice echoes hauntingly throughout the track and subtle self-harmonies creep in unannounced to chill inducing effect. It makes one listen intently for each note; each rise and fall in tone. It’s almost orchestral the way her voice weaves and layers.

Stiles’ minimal and simplistic sound is effective in the most primitive ways, which isn’t to say that that this is at all unpleasant to listen to. In many ways, it’s easy, enthralling and exhilarating to hear something quite so pure and untouched by messy instruments and over-production.

The worry that this album will be filled with tracks that are one and the same is the only fear I have. With a voice that has the eerie beauty of a more polished Lykke Li, it’s hard to predict what could go wrong. All one can hope for is a little variety to prevent this album, which has the potential to be truly breath-taking, becoming a bore after 3 or 4 tracks of the same.