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Sascha Osborn - Looking Out and After (Self Release)

Star rating: 
4

Sascha Osborn is difficult to easily classify, her smooth voice, backing of acoustic instruments and electronics and her ability to blend spoken verse and sung lines are going to cause obsessive pigeon-holers heart failure. The light percussion and rhythm from Simon Edwards and Roy Dodds and Patrick Wood’s keyboards on the title track suggest a jazzy 'Summer Lawns' era Joni Mitchell kind of vibe. Sascha starts off speaking the first verse as poetry, then singing the second verse. The effect with Wood's keyboards bubbling a 70s groove and florishes of acoustic guitar is sublime and instantly summery. Could It Be You continues that delicate music, jazzy Double Bass with a perfect chorus vocal that suggests heart stopping Judie Tzuke or the classically trained jazz singer Jaqui Dankworth.

Brooklyn mixes observational writing and another stunning vocal performance from Sasha. An Unseen Star moves it along with a bluesy vibe and a beautifully dark feel as tasteful guitar and Hammond organ washes weave an atmosphere. Gone Too Far opens with some great Americana guitar and a powerful rhythm from Dodds and Edwards gives it punch. Tough Talking True and Where Now are a delightful blend of smooth 70s Weather Report keyboards bubbles and sophisticated guitar and rhythm. Sascha's vocals just shine over the top, breathy and intimate. Take A Moment has that snapping beat of 'Moondance' era Van Morrison with its intoxicating soulful jazz sophistication. People Come And People Go has the feel of a classic in the making, a concert closer or a perennial encore, both its verse and chorus are delightfully delivered and anthemic.

This is an excellent and surprising album. Retro feel in places and contemporary in others, but always achingly hip and sophisticated. Patrick Wood's production is classy and timeless and Roy Dodds and Simon Edwards, half of Fairground Attraction as was and the UKs answer to Sly and Robbie sprinkle on their musical blend of Folk Jazz World fairydust. The resulting album with Sascha Osborn’s stunning vocals, sophisticated guitar and keyboards over world class rythmns is a delight from start to end.

Marc Higgins 
Northern Sky