Sunday, October 23, 2022

Albums of the Year # 63 Jo Schornikow - Altar



Joni Mitchell, throughout her remarkable musical career, was constantly vexed and exasperated by being asked about how she felt about being a female artist rather than just an artist. Her frustration was inevitable but I would say the pigeon holing, which is what it was, is understandable too.

It's easier to compare female musicians to other female musicians than male musicians. Journalists tend to make the easier comparisons. I was reminded of Joni's dilemma and irritation when listening to Australian songwriter Jo Schornikov's wonderful new album Altar, this morning.

I think it is a wonderful record, but it's also recognisably and immediately one made by a woman. I find that a large number of the best records I've heard over the past few years have been made by female artists. Altar has a remarkable clarity and focus that others could learn from. It's based on old fashioned songwriting craft first and foremost.

It's not partiicularly dreamlike or ethereal. Nor is it cerebral. It has an appreciation of light, which I imagine comes naturally to Australians. There I go again. Applying labels. It doesn't particularly remind me of Joni. Or Kate Bush for that matter. It's good enough not to deserve appreciation on its own merits which are considerable.

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