Xi.Me.Na. Creates Memorable Music on Before You EP
Perhaps the most appropriate term for Xi.Me.Na’s EP Before You is distinctive. One moment’s listen to any of the four cuts on this collection instantly lets you know you’re listening to the electronica/experimental artist—even if you’ve never heard her before.
Firstly, there’s her aerie soprano that ranges the highest of the high-pitched notes. Many of the songs are baked into the upper registers of her lyrical expression which, on this particular outing, are predominantly focused on themes about love. Next, there’s her unique branding of vocal production which is immediately distinctive. On the majority of the tracks she’s singing relatively simple melodies that float in place, vibrating to the rhythms and, on most occasions, becoming part of them. The effect is that of singing a capella with one’s self, which helps to set the tone on the titular work.
On this one the vocalist practically sounds like she’s doing a round with herself, which is no problem because of the catchy background vocals. This introduction precedes the deepness of the ensuing bass, giving you a foundation upon which to vibe for the remainder of the tune.
She utilizes this same method for similarly successful results on “There’s Me”, an ode partly to the realities of motherhood. Those that recall Goapele might be reminded of the Oakland crooner by Xi.Me.Na’s high-pitched singing. With production handled by Joe Rogers (who does double duty on bass), the drumming of Mason Ingram and Mike Ramsey’s percussion provide clear sonic landscapes for Xi.Me.Na’s musings.
“High Moments” is remarkable for its ethereal qualities—not the least of which are due to the sheer soaring of the singer’s soprano. On this one, however, she works in highly distant sounding background vocals that characterize the number with a mystique, surreal feeling. The singer rides the mid-tempo track creating the sort of otherworldly feel the title of the song suggests, without the listener ever leaving the room.
The singer songwriter deserves much credit for bringing a refreshing perspective to the field of pop music. It’s not difficult to hear the operatic undertones in most of the songs, suggestive of Xi.Me.Na’s background in this particular form of music. Whichever direction she chooses to go in the near future, her powerful vocals will all but assure that the results yield similarly compelling music. In this respect, her work on Before You may well prove prophetic.