Digital EP Review: Amy Denio “ICS 05 2019 (Jebiga)”

Amy DenioArtist: Amy Denio
Title: ICS 05 2019 (Jebiga)
Label: Spoot Music
Genre: singer-song writer/Love songs/Electronica/ World/Jazz


Review by Dawoud Kringle

When I first encountered the music of Amy Denio (see my review of her release The Big Embrace, her music held a fascinating emergence out of Joni Mitchell inspired roots, without covering territory already mastered by her sources of inspiration. On this new digital EP, ICS 05 2019 (Jebiga), Denio offers a collection that grew from Kultur Shock returning to the Balkans in April, 2019, and playing a 19 concert tour in Poland and Greece. According to Denio, “These 4 songs sprang to life in the last 17 days. Each song searches for the right person to bring it to life.’ That best describes the experience of creating these songs. They’ve literally held me captive for the last 17 days.” Her songwriting process involved creating a code in which each letter of the alphabet would correspond with a tone; and using this cipher to determine the chord changes from the titles of the song.

The first track, “Prozdravo Kolo,” opens with an almost hip-hop beat punctuated with exuberantly primal hoots and howls, filters through a mid range pass, and gives way to sparse and harmonically interesting chord progression. Denio steps forward with the lead vocal with interesting and somewhat unexpected harmonies. The second verse is sung in Serbo-Croatian, and returns to English.

“Novi Sad” presents Denio in a startlingly introspecting mode. Her vocals sway in a contemplative manner over an angular and jagged chord progression that almost threatens to collapse at any moment into the indistinct sounds that form a backdrop. This ingeniously coalesces into a more stable song form, yet retains its day-dreaming musing quality.

It would be irresponsible of me to cheat the listener with further spoilers. Suffice it to say that ICS 05 2019 (Jebiga) is clearly one of those collections of songs that every artist feels he or she must do to satisfy an inner urge. Yet, far from mere self-indulgence, ICS 05 2019 (Jebiga) offers a very accessible tour of the experiences that inspired this collection. One leaves listening this EP with the privileged feeling of having shared a very personal and intimate moment.