Clara Engel – Secret Beasts
Simple sounds like drums beaten and a voice extracted from a deep recess between soul and spirit. The ‘songs’ gathered for the release of ‘Secret Beasts’ are likened more to a careful collection of ‘confessions’ summoned from the four winds to reveal something unique, yet somehow ancient—almost a precursor to what we deem the modern human psyche. The vocals sound like they’ve been recorded in a tall roofed building, maybe a cathedral or stadium.
There is nothing claustrophobic in the sound and this is appreciated, as the confessional nature of these tomes might suffocate if they are forced to swim in such native waters. Yes, these offerings are not glittering pop gems, they are honest and often jarring renderings of a life lived with eyes open—looking both without and within—willing for joy to intrude and calm to descend.
Both fierce and delicate, Clara Engel’s music is reminiscent of an era in history when theatre, art, and music were an integral part of a bigger and more vital whole, an era that the 21st century is craving more than ever. Her arresting, androgynous voice and presence, coupled with lyrics that stand alone as poetry, set Clara’s work apart from current music trends.
Poet Janaka Stucky describes Engel’s work as “timeless songs that sound at home in the ribcage of rock n roll’s skeleton.” The underground, multi-faceted Canadian artist has independently released 6 albums, and collaborated with musicians from the UK, Germany, Brazil, and the USA. In the words of Jeremy Reed, Britain’s most dynamic, adventurous, and controversial poet: “”Clara Engel’s voice comes to me from that deepest of all places, imaginative space, from which she visually retrieves an inner landscape converted by breath into the rock equivalent of poetry.
Rarely has a voice sounded so authoritative, so unapologetic in its disclosures, so sure of its direction in going home into song. I’d say ‘Madagascar‘ beats them all, and it’s only a beginning at harnessing poetic inspiration to the resonating dynamic of voice and the lyrical ache of a great individual singer.”