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Monica Pasqual – Is Fortune a Wheel

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Indie Award winning recording artist Monica Pasqual presents a deeply personal album with “Is Fortune a Wheel” – a vivid, daring journey into what happens when unforgettable memories are lost by a lover whose ability to recall the past is fading. These memories, still cherished by Pasqual, are explored through song as she navigates the art of letting go.

The album is a modern-day odyssey through love, pain, loss and the ultimate rediscovery of self. This is the kind of thing I listen to much of, yet I still can’t comprehend certain things about chamber-folk to be the foremost expert on it. I am just to the point where I know it when I hear it, and although there are pop-laced components added, it’s still heavily steeped in that period sound. I love cello and this CD has much of it to perfectly back Monica Pasqual’s voice which is so well-suited for it. This is obviously not something she just started doing, but I have yet to hear more of her for proof of that. I’m just finding this release to be a special one to me, so it comes recommended. You just don’t bump into this kind of stuff every single day, even when you’re looking for it. The CD kicks off in not so predictable fashion with the title track “Is Fortune A Wheel,” and it’s not concluded whether or not there is an answer, but that sums it up in the process. This is extremely interesting with no question looming about it. And with each track comes one acknowledgement or another you can grasp without having to get out a history or some other kind of book to understand. The point is, this is an intelligent musician who knows what she is doing and knows how to fit it into the current musical landscape. This is something not everyone has been successful at, with a sometimes mixed result due to the combinations involved. “Swann’s Way” is also one hundred percent, and I find it to be an album favorite. This just isn’t easy to pass up on, it’s as simple as that. A lovely track with terrific lyrics and a narrative approach. It just really does the business. A track well worth standing on the repeat button over. But then again most everything on this album is flawless. I can’t spoil it a whole lot because it leaves so much less to the imagination when you actually experience it, that it makes no sense to give it all away. I just have to say that if you love most music you will love Monica and her songs. But most music doesn’t combine such cool genres together, so consider it a bonus. If that’s not enough, it’s still early in the disc, so “Golden Cuff” might just knock you out it is so much so fast, but contains so much to hold. This is an awesomely arranged song with not one bum note in it. I was really impressed from the word go. But I can’t say the same for “Wild” as it’s the only song I struggle with but also heard the least thus far. It might be proof that the best tracks can take time to set in before anything substantial can be said about them. But I was brought back up on “1969” because of how it differs from everything, even though it too is not one of my ultimate picks.

But I can still appreciate the effort behind it, and others might find the opposite to be the case. But all in all these are fabulous tracks with meaning, feeling and classical muscle behind them in which “Down By The Mill” most definitely defines. This is another mind melting experience to behold. So is “Strings In My Human Heart,” but it doesn’t work on me as well as this track “UmaUma” which is certainly another peaking point that ups the interest in this award winning artist. It is a song that hangs up there with the top notes of the record. With a few tracks to help take it out, such as the biggest six minutes heard on “Steam” and the lighter feel of “Saint In The Yard” and the closing track “The Color Blue Is Everywhere.” Don’t skip one minute of it.

Scott Prinzing

10/10