BECAUSE OF A FLOWER: ALBUM REVIEW
Ana Roxanne stands in the middle of Union Station in New York City, intensely focused on a tiny mic and sampler in front of her. While hordes of people run around her to catch their next train, she stands and sings as if in another world. Her eyes are closed for much of the performance, as she creates relaxing and hypnotizing sounds by layering and delaying her angelic vocals. Everyone who passes turns their head and stops for a minute. If you have ever been to Union Station, you know how impossible it is to get anyone to stop and stare at anything, but Ana Roxanne’s music did just that. This was the scene last August before Ana Roxane even released her gorgeous ~~~EP, and her newest full length Because of a Flower album expounds and builds on her unique sound.
Because of a Flower evolves throughout the course of its runtime. It begins with familiar warm vocal layering and synth chords, but as the project progresses, Ana Roxanne relies less on her voice and welcomes in a host of guitars and bell-like synths, eventually leading to the introduction of drums toward the middle of the record. Throughout this evolution, Ana Roxanne maintains an incredibly warm and welcoming sound, and the album feels like wading into the water of a hot spring on a cold day. (I’ve never actually done this, but it’s what the album makes me think of.)
There are so many sublime moments on this project that it's an impossibility to successfully point them all out. The album is also so richly textured that every song feels like entering another universe. The song “Venus” especially stands out, for the way that Ana Roxanne blends the texture of water with her falsetto vocals. The track samples the lapping of waves as a deep synth tone anchors the track and keeps it rooted in reality. Over this instrumental, Ana’s vocals make you feel like you are ascending to heaven. It’s a song that just feels right, the type that you can throw on and be transported to somewhere else entirely.
Thematically, the album centers around Ana Roxanne’s identity as intersex. At several points on the record, she talks directly to the listener, like on the first track “Untitled” where she talks about Yin and Yang. She describes them as the female and male principles respectively, joining to become a third and create harmony. This harmony is reflected all throughout the album, sometimes explicitly in the lyrics and sometimes literally in the harmonies that dance across the projects. Tracks like “A Study in Vastness,” showcase why Ana Roxanne is such an exciting name in the ambient space
Unlike other ambient projects, nothing about this album feels stuffy. It feels free and welcoming rather than an album locked behind a screen that you have to “get” to enjoy. Songs like “Camile” are a great example of this as Ana Roxanne turns to more housey rhythms, welcoming all listeners into the fold of the project. Each track feels bright and intentional, and it never feels like loops or samples are just put in to advance some narrative. Because of a Flower feels real and alive.
During this year, Ana Roxanne has proven to be on a different level, and is showing some true genius behind her latest two releases. I guarantee that Because of a Flower will change the tone of your day.