Soul in the Machine
I'm an electronic-folk-soul-jazz-singer, or something in between," writes Clara Hill. The German singer communicates via e-mail, but her warmth and enthusiasm shine through the text.
Hill's most recent album, All I Can Provide (released on Jazzanova's imprint Sonar Kollektiv near the end of last year), is a delight. It finds her singing over tracks provided by a stellar lineup of producers, including Georg Levin, Atjazz, and King Britt. She calls these collaborations "meetings," a moment when like-minded people create evocative art.
All I Can Provide, Hill says, "speaks one musical language and has one aim: brilliant productions/beautiful arrangements and compositions/versatile musical öcolors' to turn out clearer messages."
Whether "meeting" with producer Volker Meitz on the soft disco-house of "Run," or lightly riffing the words "It's all for you" on the slow-burning ballad "Endlessly," she remains emotionally open, showing you her soul through the music.
"Woke up today, wishing you were here with me/Missing the way you touch me everywhere/I need your kisses and your embrace/In your arms is where I want to be," she sings to Vikter Duplaix on the sensuous broken beat jam "Paper Chase." "The first time [I heard] Vikter's voice I think I was 21 years old I had this magical feeling," she says. "And finally when we worked together, my fascination was still there."
Jazzanova introduced Hill to the world on the group's 2002 album, In Between; she sang on the disc's best song, the lovely "No Use." Subsequent tracks with Levin and others, along with a solo debut Restless Times in 2004 marked her as a broken beat house diva. But Hill eschews being pigeonholed.
"On one side you can have öcold' electronic productions with warm, soulful singers, and on the other side you could also have warm soul productions with öcold' singers who are not really able to feel the vibe of soul," she explains. "Everything is possible."
For her next album, Hill plans to delve into folk music and explore her inner Nick Drake. "My last year was a reflecting year and I had to put it all into new songs; new songs with guitars. It will be a folky one ... just direct and touching."
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