SALT OF THE SOUND : Waiting For the Dawn. (www.saltofthesound.com)
Anita and Ben Tatlow have created quite a niche for themselves in the Christian music marketplace, with their electronic based albums. This Advent EP features 6 tracks of what can only be described as meditational pieces, rather than songs. Saying that, Anita’s haunting vocals on “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is the nearest you’ll get to a run of the mill song format. The duo has been influenced by the Advent traditions on Nordic countries, and natural soundscapes, with programmed synthetic sounds providing a backdrop to Anita’s voice. I can only describe “Shine So Bright” as giving a feeling of “spaciousness” as I listened. The sounds seemed to echo within my head. “White Forests” is a short, atmospheric piece of music, while “From Afar” features multiple keyboard sounds and intermittent percussion, to accompany the vocals. The title track had me scratching my head. Try as I may, I struggled to understand what the ethereal sung lyrics were trying to convey. Finally, there’s more multiple effects supplied on “O Come Let Us Adore Him.” I’ve often thought of Salt of the Sound’s recordings as being a little weird and wonderful. Unfortunately, for this EP, the wonderful part is sadly lacking. 5/10.
SALT OF THE SOUND : Echoes of Wonder. (www.saltofthesound.com)
Echoes of Wonder is the latest album from husband and wife duo, Salt of the Sound (aka Anita and Ben Tatlow), a Kickstarter funded follow up to their 2013 debut album “Journeys” and 2014’s “Meditations, Vol 1”. Their aim is to create music that encourages spiritual reflection and is therefore calming and meditative in style. I’m hearing elements of Gungor, Mutemath and Enigma in this album as, whilst reflective, there are lots of electro-pop elements. Arrangements are piano or synth led with the occasional overlay of electronic drums where some extra depth is needed. The opener “Echoes” is a one minute instrumental prologue though I’m not entirely sure of its purpose. I think it would have worked better segued into track two “Did You Hear It?”, the first track to feature vocals, provided exquisitely by Anita. This is followed by another instrumental, “Dawn” featuring ethereal synth pads and a piano melody. There are four instrumentals on this album and this is the best one as it has a focus. The others tend to build to nothing and I find myself wanting some sort of resolution with them. The finest parts of this album are towards the end though. “Bring the Rain” is my favourite song, with a strong melody but I also like the final two songs, “Unveil My Eyes” and Dwell Among Us”. Both of these feature some really powerful harmony work which I would like to have seen featured on the earlier tracks. Overall, it’s a good album but does lack a little variety. There is a reliance on similar sounds throughout each track. This does allow it to achieve consistency but a little more creativity could have made this a stunner. 7/10 Robin Thompson.
SALT OF THE SOUND : Through the Mist. (www.saltofthesound.com)
After scoring a very creditable 8/10 NFN rating with their debut album, ‘Journeys’, last year, Ben & Anita Tatlow return with this 6 track EP. Now based in Sweden, the couple have gained lots of radio time with their brand of ethereal sounding songs and musical pieces. The concept and inspiration behind the new EP comes from a verse in 1 Corinthians: We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12. The Message) ‘Where Do I Begin’ is a short, atmospheric piece that introduces Anita’s wistful, yet warming, vocals. In the past, I’ve likened her to Judi Tzuke, but she’s also a close match to Genie Nilsson, who made such a great album, ‘Whisper’, with her husband, Troy, in the late 90’s. ‘Make Me Wait’ is an appealing number that sounds like a prayer to God, and wanting to meet him. I said this last time, but I still believe that these songs are perfect for intimate worship. The electronic sounds are so relaxing and, listening, I sense a great closeness to Him. The ambient phrases of ‘Even the Wind & Waves Obey Him’ take you through the mist of a journey, with the light of God appearing at the end. Just because we can’t physically see God, that’s no reason not to believe in Him. ‘It Must Be Hope’ gets this message across so well. The Title track and ‘I’ll Meet You Where You Are’ end the track listing, with Anita’s vocals, once again, almost hypnotically leading you into a time of meditation. With this release, I am sure that it will only enhance Ben & Anita’s reputation for providing music to encourage spiritual reflection, both in church and personally. 9/10.
‘Through The Mist’ is the new EP from husband and wife duo Anita & Ben Tatlow (Salt Of The Sound). Their 2013 debut album Journeys was regarded by reviewers as an “unquestionably strong first album” (Cross Rhythms) and “5/5” (CMAddict), and subsequent single It Must Be Hope was described as “evocative and beautiful” (JesusWired). Through The Mist continues the unique blend of electronic synths, subtle vocal harmonies, and thoughtful lyrical messages that the duo have become known for, while incorporating a greater focus on organic sounds and evolving atmospheres. Songs by Salt Of The Sound have been widely featured on Christian and secular media, from radio (BBC, UCB) through to eminent online podcasts (Pray As You Go, Dave’s Lounge), as well as receiving significant listener attention on Soundcloud. The concept and inspiration behind the new EP comes from a verse in 1 Corinthians: We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (1 Corinthians 13:12. The Message) Through The Mist will be available as a worldwide digital release on 16th September 2014. www.saltofthesound.com
SALT OF THE SOUND : Journeys. (www.saltofthesound.com)
This duo are husband and wife team, Anita & Ben Tatlow. Both muscians from a young age, they met studying music at university in 2007 – Anita with a background in piano and vocal performance, and Ben having many years of music production and percussion experience. They feel that their music encourages spiritual reflection, and I’d quite agree with that opinion. In fact, I believe that this album is best suited for daily devotion. Take one track at a time, relax, mediate with the simple musical phrases and lyrics, and it really does help you focus. The music has been likened to that of Owl City, but I’m not so sure. True, the use of electronic sounds raise something of a similarity, but this collection of 11 pieces are much more original. ‘Free’ is the first track, and concentrates on being set free from your old life, by accepting Jesus as your saviour. ‘This Little Light’ tells how your light, of living like Jesus, can shine in this world, and I found this track particularly moving. Anita provides the vocals on all of the songs, but there are a couple of instrumentals too, such as ‘I’ll Wait’ Anita’s ethereal voice invites you to listen to God, in stillness and quiet, on ‘Listen’, and the music does draw you in, to that stillness. One track that is so different to the rest is ‘Coming Home’. Almost poppy in sound, it’s a catchy number that wouldn’t be lost on any radio station’s playlist. ‘Journeys’ is certainly an individual album. I’ve not heard anything like it for some time, and congratulations should go to both Anita and Ben on delivering something so welcome to the market. 8/10.
SALT OF THE SOUND are a London based, husband and wife duo, who are due to release their debut album in autumn. The pre-release song, “Listen”, from the upcoming album is available to download for free via their website (http://saltofthesound.com/). Ben and Anita Tatlow describe their sound as “reflective music with an electronic edge.”