…all is bright
Aidia Music (2014)
I always maintain that the success of an EP recording is how it leaves the listener wanting more. That's how I felt after the first playing of Aidia's delightful holiday music EP, …all is bright. At 15 minutes, this gem of a recording is over much too soon for my taste. Aidia has a fantastic voice as she shows on the two vocal tracks, a simply beautiful take on "O Holy Night" (with only piano accompaniment), and a stunningly joyous version of the classic song from the now-legendary TV Christmas special, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the touching ballad "There's Always Tomorrow." The latter features the vocalist backed by orchestral strings and keyboards as well as a wind instrument in the bridge. This song stopped in my tracks, so perfectly does Aidia's voice get inside the lyrics. Seldom do I admit to being this moved by a singer's voice but the best way to state it is that she just nails it! Besides the two vocal tracks, the recording also features an original composition by Kevin Keller, who also arranged, recorded and mixed the EP. The song is "The Snowbird's Waltz" and it features a lovely flowing piano melody in the lead accented by orchestral strings. It is true to the waltz motif and one can just about picture lovers ice-dancing on a pond with snow falling around them. "What Child Is This" features guitar in the opening prelude with orchestral strings for texture and what I believe is either an oboe or an English horn takes the lead melody, turning things over to a flute for some improvisation on the theme in the bridge. It's a delicate arrangement and a beautiful one at that. Closing out the album is an unexpected version of "Carol of the Bells." While completely recognizable in its uptempo liveliness, the addition of subtle - but certainly noticeable - electronic music elements (you could conceivably hear them as quasi-Berlin, even). No matter how I try to describe it, you have to hear it - it works completely, so kudos to Aidia and Keller for going out on a Christmas tree limb on this one. Let's hope that the next release from Aidia is longer as her talents shine brightly all through this short but oh-so-sweet recording.