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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Plastic Garden CD Cover
Image © Meha Music 2007

Michele Moreno
Image © Meha Music 2007

(15 February 2008) From Venice, California, Michele Moreno has recently released her debut album Plastic Garden (Meha Music (USA) 6 41444 00112 5, 2007). The ten track CD is a blend of pop and electronica with wonderful lush vocals. Michele wrote all the songs except "Water" which was co-written with Anthony Jones. She performs all lead and background vocals. She describes her music as "chill trip-pop with worldly spice."

Michele worked with innovative producers to achieve her own brand of trip-Pop. Drawing from global-centric artists like Bjork, David Byrne, Beck, The Beatles and Lisa Gerrard, she added world elements such as Middle Eastern inspired vocals and ethnic instruments like hand chimes, Asian mallet instruments and latin percussion. This blend of pop & electronica with world flavor makes her music ambient, modern and mysterious.

Michele's career began as a backup singer for several California-based indie bands. She later met talent manager Atallah Shabazz, who placed her on a tour of Latin America with Spanish superstar Raphael. When she returned to LA, Michele did vocal work on film and television scores, including Kingdom Come starring Whoopi Goldberg, Rated X starring Charlie Sheen and HBO's production of Six Feet Under.

In 2002, Michele auditioned for the legendary Ray Charles and won a spot as one of five Raelettes on the Ray Charles East Coast tour. Afterwards, she headed to Brisbane, Australia along with her husband and launched the Birdie Mendoza show (jazz, Latin and Brazilian standards). Throughout this time period, Michele continued to compose and produce her own brand of trip-pop songs. Her inspiration was drawn from such artists as Dido, Zero 7, Morcheeba and Frou Frou.

Her album is named Plastic Garden due to the flower, water and garden references in the songs. While some of her lyrics reveal dark truths "you're an auto-pilot sitting smoking your smile," others offer hope -- "fell into a rabbit hole and woke up in a different body, now I got a perfect soul." The music is a mixture of captivating melodies and thoughtful messages.

Michele's beautiful vocals capture the wonderful versatility of the musical moods. After soul-searching and writing an introspective album which takes the listener through a blend of love, self-deception, realization and hope, Michele sought out talented producers to help her brand her "Trip-Pop, Chill Fusion" sound.

Five different producers contributed to the ten songs on Plastic Garden always keeping in mind her vision. Michele said, "I wanted the chill, trip-hop elements of artists like Zero 7 in the mix yet I love middle-eastern melodies, Latin percussion and ethnic music samples. I didn't want to be a world or new-age artist, so as you'll hear, the essential flavor of my music is pop or adult alternative ala KCRW."

Michele provides a luxuriance to her musical interpretations that leave the listener wanting more and more.The CD is available for order from CDBaby. Exquisite and emotive vocals create a splendid debut. Plastic Garden is just the start of a great future on some very fertile ground.--Audrey Elliot in New York

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