Shrift

Shrift

The aptly titled Lost in a Moment is Shrift's first album, but it's hardly a debut for the group's two members, singer/songwriter Nina Miranda and multi-texturalist/producer Dennis Wheatley. Miranda is a charter member of the celebrated British group Smoke City, which has scored European hits with its unique blend of bossa nova, trip hop, jazz, reggae and funk. Miranda has lent her unique voice and words to projects by such world music luminaries as Bebel Gilberto, Nitin Sawhney, Daniel Jobim, Jah Wobble and Da Lata. Her singing style was formed by a variety of influences, most obviously the divided childhood she spent shuttling between homes in Britain and Brazil. She is equally comfortable singing in English, Portuguese or French, and she shifts between those languages several times during the course of Lost in a Moment.

Dennis Wheatley is best known for his work with Atlas, a British electro band with a history of taking existing elements (Brazilian singers, string quartets, Randy Newman's "Baltimore") and whipping them up into delectably, danceably new ethno-electro mixtures. Miranda was familiar with his work under the Atlas moniker and was drawn in by what she calls the depth of atmosphere and quality of sound.

The mood on Lost in a Moment is, as the albums title suggests, generally dreamy and soft, almost mystical at times, but with a worldly and modern edge. Hum, for example, is built on a single descending snippet of melody, underneath which rhythms subtly percolate and over . Once Upon a Dream is a song reminiscent of the earliest Disney soundtracks, with Miranda joining the evocative strings of Piotr Jordan and Sinan Kadifachi.

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