At first glance, Sora’s CD seems to be like any old CD by a solo female singer; you expect a guitar, poppy melodies, songs about boys and heartbreak. This is definitely not the case. Sora, who gives no last name, is a Calgarian who wrote and composed all the tracks on “Heartwood”. Once you delve into the depths of the CD, you begin to see how significant that fact is, there are numerous layers of strings, back-up vocals, and drums on every track. She even does the her own back-up vocals. This layering provides a very thick backing to Sora’s vocals. This is mainly a two person effort, as Douglas Romanow also provides many of the accessory instruments to this CD, along with producing, recording and mixing the CD. I have to add that the album artwork is quite exquisite, all the photos are on their own are very visually pleasing.
There are few comparison’s to Sora in today’s musical expanse. The closest thing that I am able to think of is Sarah Brightman. Sora combines a unique mix of classical vocals with a more mainstream musicality that is completely unexpected. The first notes on the title track, shock you from your seat, giving you a much more interesting perspective on the entire CD. On the track “Eurydice”, Sora and Douglas use their mixing abilities and layer two sets of vocals throughout most of the song (or piece, I’m not sure if I should be calling it that) this layering allows Sora to create a dissonance between her own vocals. It’s quite eerie but once the suspension resolves, you are left relaxed and calmed.
Most of the CD has a bit of a foreign feeling to it. “Hurricane” gives a sense of a desert and an Arab setting, whilst “Drift” is very Celtic. Each track could provide a wondrous soundtrack to a different area of the world. At first, I was weary of Sora, and quick to judge her an over the top liner and for putting herself alongside the famous single names, such as Madonna, Beck and Cher, but “Heartwood” is a completely unique experience for the music lover. If you are looking for something calming but different from just about everything you’ve heard, pick up Sora’s “Heartwood”.