Melanie De Biasio No Deal on 180g LP + Download
Originally from Charleroi and currently based in Brussels, Melanie De Biasio is a classically trained flautist and the former singer in a jazz trio, though hers is not the jazz of hotel lobbies and lounge bars. De Biasio’s semi-improvised, avant-garde, minimalist approach to the genre will reward any music-lover willing to take the time to immerse themselves in new album No Deal. The release should appeal to fans of late-period Talk Talk, who’s Mark Hollis is a huge figure for De Biasio. She also cites Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd as formative influences, plus Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln, two icons of the civic rights fight and spokeswomen of an aggressive jazz stripped of any affectation.
No Deal comes in at thirty-three and a third minutes and contains just seven songs, through which De Biasio’s voice drifts gracefully, at times disappearing altogether. With Pascal Paulus on boisterous keyboards, Pascal Mohy on classical piano, and Dre Pallemaerts on drums, De Biasio has streamlined everything to give more space to her extraordinary vocals. She has been called the Belgian Billie Holiday, and there is something delicately haunting about her voice, something in her delivery which compels you to listen.
There is a natural flow to the album, from the intimate beginnings of "I Feel You" to the farewell note of "With All My Love." The final song intimates the reconciliatory, redemptive powers of song, the calm after the storm, yet bristling with emotion, a ‘frisson‘, as they say in French. Veteran American jazz DJ Dave Wade nicely described Melanie’s lyrics as "delphic and direct." Even when her voice disappears into the shadows and mesmeric piano and percussion guide us through to the end, we keep on listening so very closely. Rarely has a record unfurled as many dark beauties and hidden luminescence, speaking a thousand musical languages while remaining completely accessible.
Taking the album as a kind of shifting narrative, the eponymous track "No Deal" is itself like a suite in three movements. The promise of a new wind sweeps through the first, followed by the uncompromising "No Deal" of the central section and then the final third...the final third slows us down into a state of contemplation. We keep waiting for her to come back. But she’s gone.
Melanie De Biasio No Deal Track Listing:
1. I Feel You
2. The Flow
3. No Deal
4. With Love
5. Sweet Darling Pain
6. I'm Gonna Leave You
7. With All My Love