The NBTMusic Review 141

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Child Of Ancestors – Sarah Jane Mary Hills (Sjambok Music)

Written by Jacobus Rossouw aka 88KOS

Every month, I read every music magazine and website and blog end to
end. It’s a search for albums that are personal, stripped of ego,
beautiful and honest. On my twitter account I ask questions, hoping
that the crowd will source these beautiful albums for me… And every
so often I’ll come across Warpaint or a rare perfection like Mountain
Man’s “Made the Harbour”, but more often than not I’m disappointed by
the anodyne starch that is served up as music so regularly.

Then, out of the blue I see a post about Sarah Jane Mary Hills’ new
album, Child of Ancestors, on NBT’s Facebook feed. I loved the work
she did with Sunways and so it was an easy decision to buy the album
immediately from her bandcamp site. After listening to the opening 5
seconds I was hooked, and when NBT Music Radio asked me to do a review
I jumped at the chance.

This is a rare album, so deeply honest and personal that it’s an act
of courage (and perhaps catharsis) to release it to the public. The
arrangement is simple and the production sparse, and combines with
introspective lyrics to produce an intimacy that is arresting and
inspiring.

Though this is a solo album the collaboration with the Legendary
Warrick Sony in terms of the final product is worth mentioning. Hills
and Sony have worked together before with Hills contributing vocals to
two Kalahari Surfers albums – One Party State
(http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/album/one-party-state) and the
recent Agitprop (http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/). For this album,
Hills recorded the vocals and guitar before sending the songs to Sony
to add final musical touches after which he did the final mix and
mastering.

Sony’s genius is that his contribution is light and sensitive thereby
adding to the album’s haunting beauty. The layered vocals and the
simple guitar figures against a background of sweeping soundscape is a
trip into someone’s soul.

Hills’ writing is superb, never over the top and never straying from a
sound that suits the album’s themes. The subject matter is sometimes
emotionally tough but ultimately leaves this listener with hope and a
sense of peace. This may make it sound like a “difficult” album but it
is extremely accessible and you will find yourself humming the songs
long after listening.

This is not an album for anyone that is fond of aggresive posturing or
frivolous pap, but for those who appreciate simplicity and beauty it
is a rare find and I encourage you to make your way to Hills’ bandcamp
site with your credit card ready.
(http://sarahjanemaryhills.bandcamp.com/). Child of Ancestors is
another superb Sjambok Music release and while you’re in a buying mood
make sure to check out other albums released by one of SA’s finest
labels at http://www.sjambokmusic.com

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