JETTE-IVES "In the Deep" Ova HOLMES IVES "Holmes Ives Presents: In Love & Light, Vol. 1" Ova

Friday, January 26, 2007

LOCAL MUSICIAN HOLMES IVES is a composer in search of a voice. On his newest collaboration, "In the Deep," that voice belongs to dusky soprano Jette Kelly, who also provides the words. For "Holmes Ives Presents: In Love & Light, Vol. 1," Ives worked with six singer-lyricists, all women. Clearly, Ives prefers keying his techno-lounge strolls to a female vocal range.

The music on both albums is lush, smooth and lilting, if not unexpected.

While "In the Deep" suggests Portishead's clanking, nightmarish lullabies, "In Love & Light" is closer to early Thievery Corporation's internationalist "downtempo" style. LouLou Ghelichkhani, who performs the standout "Chagrin Perdu," has also recorded with the Corp. The disc features lyrics in a variety of languages, with Indian percussion and Spanish guitar embroidering Ives's synthesized rhythms and melodies.

Dedicated to a friend who died in a car crash, "In Love & Light" is inclined toward the mystical. It borrows lines from poets and healers, and ends with "Rebirth," which burbles pleasantly, if not transcendently.

The opening song on "In the Deep" is titled "Darker Than You," and Kelly has a deeper, more shadowy timbre than any of the singers on "In Love & Light."

Melodically, the standout is a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," but the duo's originals are moody and insinuating. Although the tempos barely vary from song to song (or album to album), Jette-Ives has more lusty energy than Ives's other recent project. Such numbers as "In the Presence of . . . " -- which is addressed to a potential lover who's "naked when you're clothed" -- are coolly carnal. If both albums could use a little more spice, "In the Deep" is definitely the zestier of the two.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Saturday at the Rock and Roll Hotel with Soft Complex and DJ Buster.

Listen to an audio clip of Jette-Ives


© 2007 The Washington Post Company