A violin, a loop pedal and a haunting voice. That is Aisha Belle in a nutshell. Her début release Colours is so much more than this though as she crafts an ethereal glaze across your speakers. She is a true discovery of 2015.
“Life” opens your ears to what will come. Looping motifs and riffs stemming from her violin come from bows, plucks, strums and thumps. She uses her instrument in so many different ways and continually layers things over and over to build up a beautifully eerie and ghostly track. Her voice is angelic and distant – like a siren of the sea. It’s a great start as things veer around the folk spectrum but stay firmly alternative too. “A Dove” showcases Aisha’s voice better without all the reverb effects and she cuts through the cascading violin riff like a true folk star. She’s clearly enjoying jamming out as you can hear the smile in her voice as you marvel at how she’s creating an entire soundscape from a single instrument. “Raindrops” is the single and is very much more of the same but has a whimsy feel to it as the high notes simper and whine across the whole piece. The track is more instrumental than not and feels like a ghostly mood piece.
“So Long” kicks off the second half with an eerie track where all the bending notes call of Celtic undertones and waves of evil. The slow and drawn out vocals that have an echo reverb on them make the whole track feel like it’s going in slow motion. “Forrest” ups the ante by turning the violin into a drum and harmonium with plenty of clever looping and it works a treat for the tightest track on the album with Aisha beautifully singing “she grew a little forrest” in a high register that makes her voice flick pitch everytime in such a cool way. Closing out the EP is the Cocteau Twin sounding “How To Fly”. The violin is like a bleeding Cocteau guitar and with all the reverb and soaring vocal effects there is a passing similarity to Elizabeth Fraser. It’s a heavenly track that’s without bass most of the way through and so it’s fluffy cuddles and declarations of love are more heartfelt as she layers her vocals over herself for added effect.
It’s not for everyone but my goodness – what an EP! Belle pulls more out of one instrument than most bands can pull out of a whole set. It will be interesting to see how she grows and develops this skill to sustain a whole album but I am hooked. Ethereal needs have been met – listen to the ghosts of winter past here.