Curiosity The Forced Magician
By Marcus Pan
My first impression of
Curiosity Valentine's debut, The Forced Magician, was..."cute." Her
business card lists her as an "industrial jazz" musician, and I suppose that's
a pretty good indication of her work. One of our standard angry girl type
outfits, Curiosity infuses a jamming feel into her CD. An Alice in
Wonderland vision of Valentine on her promo photo adds to her flair. And
while a bit cheezy, it's not too bad.
If I were to go ahead and compare her I'd have to name
others like...Meg Lee Chin(1), Lucy Mongrel(2) or Glampire(3) (removing the
gonads and adding boobies in the latter case of course). A one-woman show,
doing all arranging, producing and what-not for her release, she's also a
student of samurai sword fighting. A butt kicking girl, I'm sure. She's based
typically in Chicago, various trips to Japan for sword slashing and fluent
The Forced Magician is definitely fresh and
interesting. Like Lucy Mongrel she can start initially annoying, but grows on
you as you notice the cutesy nuances in her music on the second or third
listen. She layers her music with various synthetic affects and piano
hammerings over which her lusty yet mean voice bitches her angers and
frustrations. What the album lacks in slick production, it embellishes with its
flair and perseverance.
Songs like Exist, for example, can get overlaced with
different clashing instrumentation. Melodies are simplistic but effective for
the most part, and while I wouldn't consider Curiosity the next Beethoven in
the way of musical arrangement, she can hold her own at times while at others
coming across a bit too cheeky. It's a hit or miss scenario. Your Son is
Fine is quite good with its punctuating guitar riffs and off-kilter piano
melody and later-arriving harpsichordy synth slides.
Free Tonight originally starts like Curiosity is
beginning a serenade in an old town lounge club...in a seedy bar on the east
side of Purgatory. Her lyrics are somewhat trite, but occasionally pointed as
she croons her way into the hearts of all the nasty men in the room hoping to
be the one she sings "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to next. An abrupt ending
without ever really getting off the ground, but an interesting piece to close
the album. Now let's jump back to the opening of the album...Play With
Us opens with a Carnival and Parisian Rouge flair. Enjoyable!
Probably not the best arranged musical crescendo I've spun,
Curiosity's The Forced Magician is sure as fuck different, biting and
fun. She can at once annoy yet croon into your brain. If you liked Lucy Mongrel
or anyone else from the angry young chicks brigade, give Curiosity a spin. It
will, at the very least, perk your interest.
(1) Piece and Love was
reviewed in Legends #104.
(2) Her self-titled release was
reviewed in Legends #111.
(3) His latest, Drop Dead
Gorgeous, was reviewed in Legends
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