Jane Anfinson is a composer, singer and violinist who has been very busy in the music scene- especially in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. She headed the bands `Exploding Head Trick' and `Own.' Reportedly, she has performed in every venue in the Twin Cities, as well as in Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Anchorage, New York and Boston. She also is half of the duo- `Irruption' with dancer- Davis Wick.
Though this is not progressive music in the classical or even contemporary sense, I still feel that it can belong in the prog genre- nevertheless this recording is an excellent listen. Her voice, which can be quite varied from passionate to precise reminds me a bit of Jane Silberry, but that is simply a reference point.
Jane's compositions are varied in style and content (perhaps because the album was recorded over a number of years), to me- this enhances the eclectic feel of the album. I even can hear traces of Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill (especially the first track on the cd- Vital Statistics) and David Bowie influences- not in whole songs but snippets here and there in her work. Jane would work well in the melodic prog/post new wave world and hopefully with more exposure, she should receive a larger fan base. Her songs can rock, like `Patience' then be enigmatically beautiful with tracks such as `Muses.' Jane's qwerkiness in terms of songwriting can be the reason that she can be accessible to the prog community. Compositions are fresh- with little repetition (except intentional), with the eclectic rhythm sections of Eddie Estrin and David Lewis on drums and percussion, create a great texture that Jane uses her violin to counterpoint as well as create some very melodic moods. On the track `Night Flight,' Jane rips a nice and oh so short solo on electric violin and shows that she has no problem creating many tones and flavors on her preferred instrument. Still, `Precious Details' is about the details in the songs and not showing off technical prowess. `Violet,' shows off how the simple mood and rhythm with John Wright creating some neat bass-work on a number of tracks), but on this particular one- it reminded me of a mellower Alamaailman Vasarat double cello.
Another highlight is the instrumental `Nothing Chance,' which breathes many textures and visions with some gorgeous violin sounds. In `Bored'- a solid song that shows the many ranges of Jane's voice; her ripping violin suggested a Fripp distorted guitar. Very cool stuff but I wanted more! Still I would have loved to hear more violin soloing, but again, everything works for the composition, not to show off technique. Also Jane might want to explore a longer song format to weave different textures within the same composition- perhaps for a future recording?
Graphic-wise, the album cover (to me), could have been more interesting to reflect the wonderful music on the album, but again, it's definitely not an eye-soar. It's just there... yet quite organic.
It is refreshing to hear an album that isn't dominated with keyboards. In fact `Precious Details,' has no keyboards on it at all. But keyboards do not make a prog album, and with the the range of moods, textures and eclectic turns and twists in tempo and rhythm (and backed by a solid group of musicians), I feel that many prog fans might embrace this album (with a little open-mindedness), but the long-song format and keyboard lovers might be disappointed.
Jane explains her style as melodic rock, eclectic and accessible- but to me I sense an amazing collection of post-new wave/ prog influences, classic tonations as well as this very cool `out of the box' sounds that make this a curious and enjoyable listen. Definitely check her out.