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Janet Feder “Songs With Words” LP

Janet Feder

I recently discovered http://downloadsnow.net/ via DSD Guide. I was idly clicking around Downloads NOW! one recent evening, stumbling through countless jazz and classical titles and finding little that could be considered inspiring.

For some reason I clicked on http://janetfeder.downloadsnow.net/songs-with-words and began listening to random tracks. I read some bio info while checking out the rest of the songs from Janet Feder’s self-released album Songs Without Words.

I was an instant fan.

As with all music I love, it’s difficult to take what Janet does and put it into words. She uses a custom baritone nylon string acoustic guitar and treats some of the strings. She sings. Her approach is termed avant-garde by some, but the songs aren’t difficult, or precious, or pretentious. She just sounds real. I suspect she really is.

Feder utilizes multi-mic studio techniques, then records in high resolution. This latest album is available on 5.1 channel/2-channel hybrid SACD or LP – the latter accompanied by a data DVD containing three versions of the album: 96kHz .WAV, 88.2kHz FLAC and 88.2kHz Apple Lossless (ALAC). I’m sure other artists have done this, but it’s the first time I’ve encountered an artist brave enough to sell a LP with three different hi-res formats included on DVD.

All this technology wouldn’t mean a whole hell of a lot without some music to back it up. In Janet Feder’s hands, high-resolution and multi-channel are not gimmicks. Her songs are strong, thoughtful, and personal. Her guitar playing is detailed, nimble, human and dazzling– without being overwrought with technique, or flash. She has a melodic and rhythmic sense that are accessible, but also smart, and innovative. Often her songs stand in stillness and you can feel the silence between the notes. Other times the compositions churn with an intensity that pulls you along with a fierce momentum. Either way, Songs With Words is a very fun ride.

The LP pressing is excellent– 180gram vinyl, highly dynamic and super-quiet. Janet also signs the LPs when ordered from her Bandcamp site – a personal touch that’s rare in the music mailorder world.

I can’t rave about this album enough. If you’d like to see and hear a representative sample of Janet Feder in performance, check out this 2012 NPR Tiny Desk concert. Then send Janet your money. She deserves it. I doubt you’ll be sorry.

Janet Feder’s website

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