Fernando Perdomo is not only one of South Florida's most prolific musicians and producers but also head of what is arguably becoming the most impressive local label. This summer, his imprint, Forward Motion, has unveiled a stunning array of new releases, which can be found at forwardmotionrecords.com. Here are two worth checking out.
Jill Hartmann, Things I Want to Remember: With a voice as pliable as molasses, Hartmann coos with a subdued sensuality that makes even her most unadorned offerings sound daringly seductive. The album finds her veering from playful to plaintive, wrapping the arrangements in a shimmering sheen of dreamy harmonies and drifting tempos.
As befits its title, Things I Want to Remember comes across as both effortless and expressive, a languid collection of soothing lullabies that are occasionally spunky ("Reciprocate") and always alluring ("The Shepherd," "This Love"). Granted, Hartmann demands a closer listen, given her inward gaze and low-lit expressions of desire. Regardless, it's the sheer, beguiling beauty of songs such as "Northern Bird" and "Love Machine" that makes Things I Want to Remember nothing less than unforgettable.
Forward Motion Records
Kingsley and Perdomo, Fake Smiles: As evidenced by the cover photo, these bearded, shaggy-haired minstrels could pass as twin sons from different mothers. In fact, one listen to this superb collaboration makes that conclusion seem all the more plausible. Fernando Perdomo's production offers an ideal complement to Vic Kingsley's breezy ballads, which compose the bulk of this collection.
The music is a little less kinetic than the stuff Perdomo favors in his day job with Dreaming in Stereo. But it's still equally engaging, a flawless pop concoction that seems aimed at achieving mass appeal, with occasional detours toward a country connection.
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"Howl at the Moon" is an excellent example of effortless Americana, but the duo's down-home, banjo-fueled take on the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" is the real clincher. It's an imaginative reworking that affirms the pair's better instincts. "So this is what it's like to record a hit song," one says before the tape rolls. Replies the other: "Too bad we didn't write it." No worries, though, guys. Based on the evidence exhibited so far, achieving that kind of feat is merely a matter of time.