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Ornamental: A Projekt Holiday Collection
Ornamental was originally released a few years back, but since holiday albums don’t really age I thought it would be fun to include it here as the fine folks at Projekt Records were kind enough to provide us with it. The album is a two-disc affair with the first including more traditional arrangements and songs and the second filled with non-traditional tunes.
As far as the traditionals go, all of this disc is a pretty fun listen. Abney Park’s “Steampunk Jingle Bells” is one of my personal favorites. It’s an upbeat, kinda gypsy leaning tune that sounds folksy but is also instantly recognizable. It’s followed by the album’s other main highlight, Nicki Jaine and Ego Likeness’ version of “The Little Drummer Boy.” Jaine almost sounds like a mid-career Eva O. here, reminding me of how much of a star Jaine is. Her voice just has an amazing “Wow!” factor to it. Other highlights include Forrest Fang’s incredibly moving take on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and All My Faith Lost’s incredibly sad and incredibly beautiful “In The Bleak Midwinter.”
The non-traditionals are the real powerhouses here. This is partly because left field is what I expect from Projekt Records and partly because the songs feel new…they aren’t really major radio station fodder as you may have guessed. When listening to Unto Ashes’ “King of Frost” you almost start to actually feel cold. A folktale of sorts set to Floydian worship music, it may just be my favorite song on the overall set. Lovespirals soothing and gentle “Happy Holidays” is another excellent moment and a stark contrast to the electro-new wave pop of KatzKab’s fun and upbeat “My Sad Wishlist.”
If you are looking for a holiday album off the beaten-path (cause there’s a lot of beaten path out there!) that you won’t hear twenty four hours a day on the FM radio dial then you’d do well to pick this one up. It’s fun, it’s musically creative, it’s intimate, and it’s gorgeous. Lovers of music will certainly appreciate this one.
Reviewed by Mark 1340