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Ana Roxanne
Because Of A Flower Ed Power , November 30th, 2020 09:36

The new album by Ana Roxanne adds up to a glorious contradiction, finds Ed Power

Ana Roxanne's origin story has two distinct phases. The first was when she was a child growing up in the Bay Area and encountered the video to Alicia Keys' 'Fallin'' on MTV. The second came during a trip to India where a teacher introduced her to Hindustani music and singing. These worlds do not so much collide on her new record as they do enter a fugue state of mutual empathy, held together by Roxanne's voice which comes swirling in as if from blowing down from a forbidding mountain top.

The effect is wildly, irresistibly esoteric. And yet the sense of wonder that infuses the project is merely one of several components. Because Of A Flower is at its core a profoundly heartfelt record that advocates for self-acceptance and learning to love every part of who you are. This is a continuation of a conversation Roxanne began with her audience last year when she revealed in an Instagram post that she is Intersexual.

"These two have joined and out of their junction comes a third: harmony," she intones in a crystalline coo on 'Venus', where flowing water serves as a metaphor for the mutability of human identity (it changes form yet its essence is always the same).

She repeats the words over and over, like an incantation. Yet as she does so, a hazy drone envelopes vocals that, up until now, have been as direct as the sound of chimes on a cold, windless day. This is disorientating. But then slipping beneath the surface is always scary. There is, however, comfort down here in the depths. "I lost my way," she sings as the ambient wash grows louder. And yet she sounds absolutely certain of where she is.

That contradiction – just like the push and pull between her pop and new-age influences – is compelling. It also gives Because Of A Flower an edge, preventing it spinning off into something best enjoyed in the glow of scented candles and lava lamps.

Every now and then, moreover, she cuts through the hum and gives us something to grab onto. The twitching muscular bass of 'Take The Thorn, Leave The Rose' for instance, which then falls away to gentle brushes of piano and vocals. She even comes close to a verse-chorus structure of 'Suite Pour L’invisible', which sounds like Enya powering though the multiverse on rocket-boots.

Roxanne has laid out her truth about herself, her sexuality, her internal world. She does so on an LP that largely communicates in a language of its own invention yet continues to have a lot to say. Still it safeguards its secrets too – you can make out some of her lyrics on 'Venus', for instance, but not all of them. What a glorious contradiction it adds up to: a powerfully confessional record steeped in mystery.