Raven Album (with Christine White)


with Christine White


Decoding the composition
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Raven Album (with Christine White)

with Christine White

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‘The Raven Project’, which began in March 2020, is the result of 2 years work and will culminate in the release of 6 songs in digital and vinyl format (including a remix by producer Paddy Free), accompanied by 3 music videos, and a book of short haiku-style poetry book in two languages (English & Farsi), due for release on November 24th.

The first single ‘Raven’, due for release via digital platforms on September 29th, is the first single to be released from Christine, in over four years, since the release of her previously applauded album from 2018.

“A very impressive album which bridges art music, folk, literature and visual images”. Graham Reid

Over the years White has also recorded, performed and collaborated with many of New Zealand’s music elite, including Hinemoana Baker, Ariana Tikao and Mahina Kaui.  The solo recordings then followed and evolved.

Over the course of many years, incredibly talented and multi-faceted musician, Christine White, developed an appetite for non-traditional music-making. A subsequent degree in Sonic Arts Composition at Victoria University further brought about a shift in Christine’s approach where sound became a compositional tool. This also brought about the start of her incredible working relationship and friendship with composer John Psathas.

The single release of ‘Raven’  includes a remix by esteemed electronic producer Paddy Free alongside the first of a series of three video clips, to be released across this project, one released with each single.

The video for ‘Raven’ aims to capture the essence of the song - the celebration of our best life which is often a little out of our sight, but which pulls us forward and upward.

From the opening strum of the harp, Raven takes off on an epic journey, touching on multiple genres - from soft disco, to middle of the road, with a dash of white funk groove and nods to the vocal layerings of 70’s songs – a progressive rock type of treatment that lands and darts off again – where electronic squawks compete with the pounding of drums and rest momentarily on the solitary voice, before launching off again through tales of environmentalism and night clubbing, all at once trying to reach higher to where the mythic Raven is circling above and diving down.

This is the song that took hold of Christine White.

Christine was helped in the creation of the video by friends - up and coming film-maker Tommy Kelly. Tommy’s intuitive camera work created a beautiful one take capture of Christine’s performance of the song along with some self stylized interpretive dance, and the introduction of a character we only recognise at this stage as a boxer.

The video was then edited together by sound/visual artist Ray Dickinson (Soulhaven Creative Productions). “Ray comes from a percussion and sound art background so she was brilliantly able to bring stunning visual interpretation to the different energetic parts of the song”.

Raven initially began as a writing exercise in an attempt to emulate the simple and evocative four chord Joni Mitchell song, Black Crow (from her album, Hejira). But true to White and the ever evolving Raven, it wasn’t to stay that way. Add in a trip to Australia (where White became sole charge of a family of three children for ten days), her dog nearly dying, a fun-filled night at the Sydney Mardi Gras with White’s Iranian born niece-in-law, and some environmentalism - so begins the lyrical romp that is Raven.

The complete arrangement of Raven was undertaken by White, with mentorship and guidance from John Psathas.
“It was an incredible experience having John alongside at this time. John’s depth and breadth of knowledge and experience is astounding, but at the core, he always comes back to the energy of a piece of music.

The arrangement of Raven took place over a three month period and was recorded predominantly at Lab Studios in Auckland with engineer Oliver Harmer at the helm - firstly with the stellar rhythm section duo of Steve Thomas (drums) and Dan Antunovich (bass), and then with nine players from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra bringing the piece to life.

“The musicians from Auckland Philharmonia were incredibly professional and above all, committed to the process and so enthusiastic. They brought such energy to the songs. It was very rewarding for me to see the dots on a page brought to life”.

Raven is out in digital format and video on Sept 29th, The following two singles, Taken and Starless Rivers, will be released on the 27th October and the 24th of November respectively, Alongside the release of the full music collection also on November 24th. The Singles & Full project release are also proudly supported by Creative New Zealand.