Slow to Burn

Slow to Burn

by Vanessa Daou



Vanessa Daou moves somewhat away from the intense eroticism of Zipless on her second album, but it is a no less seductive or steamily crepuscular effort. Each of Slow to Burn's 11 songs pays homage to an influential female artisan, from musicians (Billie Holiday) to artists and poets (Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo) to actresses and dancers (Greta Garbo, Josephine Baker), whose life exemplifies complete liberation, artistic or otherwise. Peter Daou's music again grooves with a jazz edge -- keyboards and cymbals abound, with warm, creamy basslines and dance rhythms that are unusually suggestive rather than rampant -- but also moves from brooding to meditative, often within the same song. Rather than dancefloor fodder, the music seems as if it would be more at home in an after-hours club where movement is a narcotized haze. Peter Daou's playing and arrangements are impeccable and precise but can also have a haunting quality. In addition to the pervasive jazz influence, elements of gospel, R&B, dance, electronica, and even slight hints of Latin music enter the songs. "Evening" is like a long, slow drag on a cigarette, sexy and gorgeous with the underlying sense of hazard that is likely to be regretted the next morning, and many of the other songs share that sensuality. Vanessa Daou's lyrics alternate between longing, beguiling, and introspective. They are not always exactly poetry, but they are usually compelling and, married with Peter Daou's voice, it is enough to bring the music to full life. Her smoky whisper is vulnerability itself, pure late-night allure that is chilling because it acts as a spectral knife-edge, both empowering and dangerous. Her vocals are down in the mix, treated with echo, and some of her vocal phrasing (though not the vocals themselves) is reminiscent of Sade. And like Sade, Vanessa Daou has an icy veneer to her voice without ever coming off as frigid or overly calculated. In fact, it has just the opposite quality. Her singing is a gauzy, windswept curtain in the dark, and it equally draws you curiously closer to it and sends an eerie tingle through you because of what might be behind it. There is a reason that Slow to Burn is perfect post-midnight music. It is a subtle jolt of electricity that illuminates the blue darkness and makes all the shadows sparkle.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/24/1996
Label: Mca Int'l
UPC: 0008811149628
catalogNumber: 111496

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Vanessa Daou   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Nicki Richards   Background Vocals
Audrey Wheeler   Background Vocals
Mike Caro   Guitar
Peter Daou   Piano,Keyboards
Stephanie James   Background Vocals
Matt Hong   Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Douglas Oberhamer   Trumpet,Flugelhorn

Technical Credits

Danny Madden   Arranger,Vocal Arrangements
Peter Daou   Programming,Producer
Vanessa Daou   Paintings
Michael Lavine   Artwork
Dana Vlcek   Engineer
Kevin Reagan   Art Direction

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Slow to Burn 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a cool album to listen to.