CD Review

Curiosity – “The Forced Magician”

By Marcus Pan

The Forced MagicianMy 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 speaking aside.

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 #116.
Contact Information:
Curiosity
Post: 3171-N Orchard St., Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Phone: (773) 975-0983
E-Mail: curiosity@curiosityvalentine.com
Web: www.curiosityvalentine.com