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XIAME: The Shadow of My Soul

A varied and absorbing effort, XIAME’s The Shadow of My Soul (Traumton 4421; 53:21) utilizes the colors of many world rhythms and melodic forms for a spellbinding mix which builds upon last year’s debut effort. The five-person ensemble makes each note count, crafting minimalist, meditative arrangements like “Always Almost,” which finds Michael Rodach weaving a circular guitar web around vocalist Naja Storebjerg’s bittersweet lyric center. Compositions like “Hip People”- with its rattling, inside out samba beat, and dark funk bass growing below, build subtly. XIAME’s melodies thrive on contrast, like Storebjerg’s long-lined vocal versus a fast brasilbeat/Caribbean feel on “(I Will Be) On My Way” and the impossibly windy-sounding guitar set against Jorge Degas’ wordless vocal on “O Gallo.” “No Sense at All” showcases the group’s tricky sense of detail in fine fashion- just when you think its a straightforward, lanky funk, it breaks into a dreamy call-and-answer vocal harmony sequence. Repeat listens reveal hidden layers on this detailed, colorful album.

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