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CD REVIEW: Norine Braun - 'Now & Zen'
By Steve Allat - 03/23/2004 - 04:44 PM EST

Artist: Norine Braun
Album: 'Now & Zen'
CD Review: Label: Independent
Tracks: 14
Released: 2003
For Fans Of:: One Ton, Bjork, Garbage
Fav Track: Jade, I'm the 1, Intimate Hour.

Right from the first song, 'Jade', I felt comfortable listening to Norine. I just knew this would be a delightful journey.

Norine's fifth CD finds her in a place where she is very comfortable with herself and her many modes of expression. She morphs effortlessly from songstress to spoken word artist to rapper to rebel punk screamer (check out her pipes at the end of I'm the 1). The beauty of it is that it never sounds forced. That's the sign of an artist who has reached a mature level of self-awareness and acceptance to be confident enough to explore the many facets of expression available within.

Every song on the CD offers up something catchy, with words worth paying attention to. You can tell that Norine has something on her mind, or more specifically a state of mind, and that she wants to share her experience of life with us all, very openly. Ahh, artistic expression. When I am interested enough to listen to spoken-word and rap elements in a song, then there's something good going on. Even when speaking and rapping, her sense of melody and style truly help make it listenable.

The trick that Norine has accomplished here isn't an easy one. To blend various musical styles and esoteric lyrics into one accessible whole is a great accomplishment unto itself. I believe that says a lot for her state of mind - this work being a reflection of that.

While we may not have heard Norine's songs in the mainstream yet, that only tells me one thing. It isn't artists like Norine who need to adapt, it's the mainstream. I count on Norine being one of the pioneers to lead the way, with CD's like 'Now & Zen' being a prime mover.

Norine . . . I know why you love to sing.

*A note has to be made of the production and playing done on this CD - the work of James Bowers. He is one very talented, very gifted producer, capable of moving with Norine musically where she went with words, melodies and ideas. Highly recommended for any singer/songwriter in the Vancouver area (James Bowers Music)

Contact: Norine Braun
Website: Norine Braun

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