Elaine Lachica - "9"
(self-released 2002)

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

Sweetly calling from the hinterlands found far beyond midnight, Elaine Lachica’s 9 is a bewitching amalgam of musical threads gathered from the likes of Tori Amos, the Cocteau Twins and Radiohead. She describes her sound as ‘fusing alternative-soul vibes with layers of ethereal electro-acoustic soundscapes.’ My experience was that of being adrift on a still, tropical sea, falling into a state that both lyrically and sonically evoked the half-asleep meta-musings of loneliness and longing. 9 depicts an aching heart rendered in painful brilliance — Poe could have scored his Tales of Mystery and Imagination to this haunting musical collage.

The impact of this disk is not surprising given Lachica’s impressive bio: studying piano, violin and voice at age 3, at 18 accepted into the esteemed Peabody Conservatory of Music (Tori Amos’ alma mater). From there she formed a band called ‘Azure’ (as the trio’s singer and bassist) which played at various colleges and New York clubs such as the legendary CBGB’s and Under Acme. And, as a solo act while attending Peabody, she performed opera in Italy as well as premiered music by Peabody composers. She’s studied acting at the American Academy of Arts, moved to New York to freelance as a solo singer, and received a fellowship to study at London’s Royal College of Music, where she finished writing the songs for ‘9' and subsequently returned to the states to record 9. Her debut disk has since received airplay on WERG in Pennsylvania as well as the University of Toronto’s CIUT and she performed most recently at The Vault in Baltimore on September 12th.

Lachica’s disk impressed me enough that I found it difficult to single out particularly outstanding tracks. Nonetheless, my favorites include the Tori Amos-influenced ‘varuna’ with its free-floating vocals layered over blues piano; ‘garlands racing’ gossamer voices and ambient synth stylings, as well as the closing track ‘blue blinding sun’ which has a spine-chilling (and I mean that in the most delicious sense) trickle of piano keys and echoing voices layered over shimmering synth.

9 is music that transports you to the outer rim of consciousness — that place where dreams and desire, loss and strength are born. Highly recommended!

For more information you can visit the Elaine Lachica web site at: http://elaine_lachica.home.mindspring.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Elaine Lachica; 2923 N. Calvert St; Baltimore, MD 21218.

Reviewed by Ian Compton

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