Laura Misch | Sample the Sky Review
Sample the Sky: Laura Misch’s Jazz-Tinged Electronic Canvas
by Elberton Cisnero
In the bustling ecosystem of electronica, Laura Misch’s latest offering, Sample the Sky, stands as a beacon of innovation—a melding pot where the pulsating heart of electronica meets the improvisational soul of jazz. Misch, known for her saxophone charm and vocal elasticity, weaves a rich journey that challenges the orthodoxies of genre and invites a confluence of rhythms, textures, and melodies.
The album unfolds as an exploration of sound, with Misch as the architect of a world where every sonic element is deliberately placed. The record, conceived with a scrupulous ear, avoids pre-fabricated loops and samples; instead, each sound is birthed from a tangible source—played, synthesized, or captured live. This authenticity serves as the bedrock of the album, a core tenet of electronica, where the organic and synthetic coalesce.
Misch’s partnership with harpist Marysia Osu and guitarist Tomáš Kašpar is not merely additive but symbiotic. Osu’s harp strings cascade through the mix, bestowing an ethereal quality, while Kašpar’s strings provide a textural counterpoint that embellishes the album’s intricate rhythm. The collaboration results in a soundscape that is rich in detail and steeped in aural narrative.
Harmonically, Misch ventures into a space often reserved for the avant-garde. The album doesn’t shy away from utilizing jazz’s complex chord structures, but they are recontextualized within the framework of electronica. For instance, “Hide to Seek” demonstrates Misch’s ability to employ extended chords and rich voicings—hallmarks of jazz harmony—within layers of electronic soundscapes, creating a lush background for her expressive saxophone and vocal treatments.
Rhythmically, Misch taps into the electronic genre’s fundamental pulse, channeling its energy into jazz’s dynamic flow. The interplay of rhythms in tracks like “City Lungs” nods to the beat-centric nature of electronic music while tipping the hat to jazz’s syncopated grooves. Kašpar’s deft guitar work punctuates the texture, offering a rhythmic complexity that enriches the album’s tapestry.
The album’s textural richness is pivotal. Misch’s use of her voice as an instrument—often a defining characteristic of electronic music—is striking. Her vocals are layered, manipulated, and textured, exhibiting a range that serves the dual purpose of melody carrier and harmonic enhancer. This approach to vocals is reminiscent of the great jazz singers, yet it’s executed through an electronic lens, providing a refreshing take on the human voice within this medium.
Sample the Sky is undeniably a confluence of Misch’s jazz sensibilities and her electronic execution. This is not jazz for the purist, nor is it electronica for the casual club-goer. It is a nexus, an album that exemplifies the potential for genres to intersect and inform one another, resulting in a sound that is as evocative as it is innovative.
Laura Misch’s Sample the Sky serves a musical experiment, a harbinger for the future of electronica infused with jazz DNA. It is an album that commands attention, not just for its genre-bending approach, but for its masterful blending of two worlds—showcasing an artist unafraid to let her jazz roots infiltrate the electronic space, and in doing so, expanding the horizons of electronica.
Sample the Sky
Release Date: October 13, 2023
Label: One Little Independent Records