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Adena Atkins is MusicZeitgeist.com’s Indie Music Artist of the Month for April 2012

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Adena AtkinsIn polling new artists for our April Indie Music Artist for 2012, we were stopped dead in our tracks by the immediately captivating production elements that emerged from the otherwise subdued but chordally advanced bed tracks of this artist’s offering.

A sort of kindred spirit to Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting, the musical maturity of Stanley Clarke’s Animal Logic project, all the while coming forward in an knowing albeit understated manner, Adena Atkins’ remarkable debut stood out and has become a mainstay on our playlist.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, this California native has also studied with author Natalie Goldberg and at CalArts. Atkins is a recipient of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’ merit award. Within a year of moving to Seattle, she teamed up with producer Jay Pinto to record her stunning solo debut The Slowest Curve as well as a joint EP under the moniker pandagreen.

MusicZeitgeist asked the artist to talk a little about the history and development of the project:

MZ: Who?
I’m an artist working in song. I was once certain I’d grow up to be a painter, but then I saw Laurie Anderson perform during her Nerve Bible Tour. Her work is so beautiful—I too want to occupy time gracefully! This desire has slowly carried me into song and now I’m hooked. I won’t stop!

Luckily I’ve met up with some extremely talented teachers, friends, and cohorts along the way. Jay Pinto for instance, the producer of my EP. He held the space for my wild ideas. To give you an example of what he had to deal with, while discussing the arrangement for the song “Hot Gray Morning” I told him it should sound – and I quote — like a funeral parade covered in maple syrup. And he did it! He did it and he kept a straight face.

MZ: What?
The Slowest Curve is my debut and it’s a song cycle. Each song takes place in the morning in front of a window in a different season of the year. I hoped the structure would help clearly reveal the year’s passing.

Much of the inspiration for this project came from impressionism, which is a little old fashioned, so I’m delighted with how modern and electronic The Slowest Curve became. The technology allowed room for every sound we could imagine. There are typewriters in there, a creaking boat, various keyboards, hurdy-gurdy, vocoder, bassoon, a string quartet, a gas mask voice-over, bells, a moon landing, and a gong. And me too! It’s a party!

MZ: Where?
I’m originally from Ventura, in southern California. I wrote The Slowest Curve when I moved to Boston to go to the Berklee College of Music. The distinct seasons there were a shock to me, so naturally I had to write to them! I’ve since moved back to the west coast. The Slowest Curve was produced in Seattle, where I live now. Maybe next I should write something about rain!

MZ: Next?
I’m scheming up a music video for April Rain, the spring song. Fuchsia Foxxx, one of Seattle’s premier burlesque artists, has agreed to star in it, so even though I’m brand new to video I’m confident that this will be a real treat.

I’m also dreaming of my next album already. In my dreams it’s a glittering pop thing, full length this time. The songs coming in seem to have a lot in common; they hold extremes like loyalty and betrayal, darkness and light. Despite the thread, I don’t foresee it becoming a concept album like The Slowest Curve.

Adena Atkins’ Vital Links:

Listen now to “Hot Gray Morning” by Adena Atkins and other artists we have featured at the MusicZeitgeist.com’s free Indie Music Jukebox

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