GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Road trip album: ‘Intuition’

Critic At Large

Rändi Fay featuring Aaron Zinsmeister

Front cover.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)

Original songs in original ways – very interesting…

On road trips to venues in our area to see live performances to review, I pop new CDs by local performers into the car player for a bit of company.

Here is one I haven’t gotten to writing about in the crush of postponements and cancellations surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19.

It’s by Rändi Fay, a regular on the greater Green Bay area performance scene, though appearing in a variety of personas. Here are a few:

– A member of traditional Steppin’ Out vocal group performing at The Sports Corner in De Pere in “An Evening of Rhythm and Swing.”

– Vocalist with the DMG Trio (saxophone, guitar, cello) performing at A’s Dockside and Restaurant and Music Café.

– Singing in various gigs with the jazz/variety group Limited Edition.

– Singing with the large classical, etc. Dudley Birder Chorale of St. Norbert College.

– Singing with Daddy D Productions show troupe of Green Bay in “Salute to Our Veterans.”

– Taking on the leading role of complicated Donna Sheridan, trying to figure out who is the father of her daughter, in the musical “Mamma Mia!” presented by the Birder Players in De Pere.

Rändi Fay ventures into a new and wide landscape with the album “Intuition.”

On the Scale of Ambition, it is right up there.

I initially listened to “Intuition” a few times while driving. For this piece, I sat down and wrote thoughts in real time while listening on my home computer. I wrote descriptions/impressions of what I heard as the music was playing. Reviewing albums is an odd thing – writing words to represent sounds, plus everyone definitely has his or her own taste in music – but I have reviewed hundreds of albums. Notable was a stretch with the Green Bay Press-Gazette when the national Gannett News Service ran some of my reviews that were picked up by newspapers from Salinas, California to Cocoa, Florida, to White Plains, New York, to Lansing, Michigan, and on and on.

For “Intuition,” Rändi Fay joins forces with Aaron Zinsmeister (an electro-meister) in creating the music and lyrics.

Back cover.

The concept album comes with this story: “There was a bewildered Firefly, who, for a night, gave in to her hidden longings. She unearthed a smoldering Jezebel from deep inside herself and was Mystified by the fire and duality taking place in her heart. Gaining courage, the agitated firefly became Uncaged, breaking with her past, finding Serenity and following her Intuition to chance love. But then, enchanted by the Lone Wolf, she plunged through deep Melancholia, traveling with him East of Pain on the River of Time where together they learned to Rise in Love.”

Now, the tracks, described:

“Firefly”

Intensity, fast paced … “I’m searching for a firefly, hidden in the night sky, alone in my universe.” Complex wordplay. Mix of sounds. “Tiny light of inspiration.” Thought impressionistic on a soundscape vibrant with energy.

“Jezebel”

Music organ-y. A touch of Johann Sebastian Bach, like “Toccata and fugue.” Instrumental prelude. “My body melts to mercury.” Working on a beat. “One look at him, and I am lost.” A sensuality. “Falling angels never tell.” A bit primal as “tonight I’m Jezebel.” “I grab the apple, take a bite.” “Liquid light.” A flourish in soundscape.

“Mystified”

Gentle and bright. “Waking up I feel you next to me.” “Glowing scents of morning.” “How did you find your way to me? I am mystified, can’t understand, I am mystified, you’ve drawn me in.” Straightforward romanticism. “There you lie in the image of a noble mountain.” Sound is large as opposed to solo guitar or piano one-to-one, or a cappella. Scale is Sense-u-round.

“Uncaged”

Perky. Classical strings, then juiced up with pace. A “silly girl” now let loose. “I’ll break free.” A pop diva aura. Working on the uncaged idea. “Chains of disregard.” What is pent up is respect. Moves into a lyrical voice: “I cannot wait for another time another place, I dream beyond what others dare…” Comes back to scurrying pace in instrumental of synth-guitar,” and singing erupts.

“Serenity”

Reflective. Piano sound focal. Texture of voice is fresh and smooth. “Melody of a nightingale.” “Her tiny whispers of solitude.” “Serenity is waiting beyond our reach.”

“Intuition”

Pace quickens. “I don’t want to love you, I don’t want to lose control.” Resistance to romance. “Give in to intuition, release the inhibition, relieve the inquisition.” A kind of jazz. Bright, energized.

“Lone Wolf”

Builds to an adventurous aura. Attracted to a power: “You whisper secrets with your eyes.” “Hypnotic lips.” “Reach for me, reach for me, my lone wolf.” “It’s me you find by your side.” Bass and drum beat are at times like a quick heartbeat. Again sensual.

“Melancholia”

An eerie little space and place. “Swallowing the hurt behind my eyes.” “I’m sinking into madness.” Expressing a feeling. “Melancholia, deceptively sharp, the turn of screw.” “I can’t see you, but I feel you just the same.”

“East of Pain”

Bit of India, Ravi Shankar, sitar. “… searching for an avenue to disappear.” Fevered pitch. “… can be together east of pain… can we find forever east of pain.” A relationship through thick and thin? Like singing in a gale.

“River of Time”

Taste of Medieval music aura. Tame aura. “Eternal carousel…” “Tomorrow slips by.” A passage of the elusive. Many plays on the word/concept of time. Like the album, trying to grasp the wind and hold it. “River of time, flowing like wine, pour me a cup, let me savor the day.”

“Rise in Love”

A vocal ensemble with herself, with vigorous aural background. Another romance. “I love you with more than I am.” “Together we will rise in love.” Earnest feelings.

Final thoughts: This is an ambitious project with an elevated level of words written by someone who is smart and thoughtful. Rändi Fay retains a youthful presence in her voice. Snapshot thoughts – the album creates a mystical otherworld, is abundant sensuality, has word pictures blended with mindscapes, is deceptive in being deep think with sensuality, is diary-like, a bit beyond and in a different league.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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