Shana Falana's nearly two-decade musical career began in San Francisco, where her participation in the city's diverse music scene allowed her many opportunities to expand her musical horizons. These musical projects, one of which was a Bulgarian women's choir, have greatly influenced her subsequent artistic output. Shana's newest EP, In the Light, is a beautiful, aural trip, through droning musical environments that seem to glow as they slip past.
The EP's first track, “Dizzy Chant,” greets the listener with a wonderful drone persisting throughout the entirety of the song. As the drone begins to swell, Shana's guitar enters the scene, dancing around that constant droning backbone of the song and creating a dizzying almost swirling effect. Then, Shana's hypnotic vocals are layered atop everything, as a drum, somewhat muffled and distant sounding, keeps the track moving forward.
I haven't listened to a recent album that focused so heavily on drone since The Black Angels released Passover in 2006, and while I loved that album, it left me with the impression that droning lent itself to a sound much darker than what Shana has created. Don't get me wrong, the shadows are there, but there is a certain satisfying, positive energy Shana has injected into this EP.
The second track, “Light the Fire,” brings back the drone, and as its musical elements combine, into an atmospherically beautiful song, it has this strange way of evoking images of women dancing around a fire-pit, while chanting the title of the song. It reminds me of a children's schoolyard game, such as “Ring Around the Rosie.” Such a bright and joyous song.
The songs on In the Light are all uplifting,
healing and supportive of the feminine, as Shana has said. These themes are more easily identifiable on “In the Light” and “U. R. Everything” more so than on the other tracks. Some narrow-minded men may read that and think, thanks for telling me which tracks to avoid, but that is not what I'm saying, at all. They are great tracks and reflect the motherly and nurturing aspects of femininity.
In the past, albums that made heavy use of drone have tended to make a strong first impression, which fades as I listen to it more. I might attribute this to the fact that some artists use drone to create a gloomy, depressing atmosphere, which begins to seem superficial and gimmicky after repeated listens. The music on Shana Falana's EP, however, has grown on me over the past week. It's nice to hear a droning shoegaze album that is so uplifting. If you'd like to check it out,
the album is available now through Shana Falana's bandcamp page.
1. Dizzy Chant
2. Light the Fire
4. In the Light
5. U. R. Everything
6. Yea Yeah