Review Summary: Sarah is giving away another one of her albums. This one isn't just an EP though. This is 31 songs, 1 making-of video, tons of pictures and more.
Sarah Fimm has always been passionate about her music and sincere about getting it into the hands of as many people as she can. She is constantly making her music available to stream online, and isn’t above giving away albums – as she did a few years ago with White Birds
. Even though she is known for trying to share her music whenever it’s possible, her latest endeavor still comes as a surprise for its forward-thinking and the sheer depth of the project. Karma Phala
is thirty-one tracks of new and unreleased music that spans her entire recording career, including three tracks from her upcoming fifth album, Near Infinite Possibility
. It covers everything from ambient electronics to soulful acoustic rock while maintaining a consistently high quality throughout. In addition to that large quantity of music, Karma Phala
also includes a high-quality ‘making of Near Infinite Possibility
’ video, a ton of pictures, a personal greeting from Sarah herself and more. As if that isn’t enough, she has been giving the whole thing away for free on 1-gig thumb drives (she is even covering the shipping).
There’s so much to like about this release that it’s hard to even know where to begin. First, there is the large abundance of music that has a little bit of something for everyone. For new listeners, there are the tracks from each of Sarah’s previous releases that demonstrate her evolution from an electronics-dominated beginning to the more organic and expressive direction that she has taken recently. For long-time fans there is the novelty of being able to hear songs that Sarah Fimm, for whatever reason, opted to never release before this point. Much of the unreleased material is ambient and piano-based instrumentals that work well as transitional pieces between the fuller songs, but they’re also equally effective as autonomous pieces – as “War of the Worlds” demonstrates. The tracks that most fans will be interested in, of course, are the three songs from her upcoming 2011 release, Near Infinite Possibility
. Without ruining any potential surprises, it shouldn’t shock anybody to learn that the songs are excellent and that they are, once again, a progression and extension of Sarah’s previous work.
The rest of the package will be much more interesting to the long-time Sarah Fimm fan than to the new or casual listener. The video provides an in-depth look at the making of Sarah’s upcoming album Near Infinite Possibility
. For those that are curious about the process of making a Sarah Fimm album as well as for those hopeful of hearing glimpses of the new album, this video will not disappoint. Karma Phala
also contains quite a few pictures from studio and video productions, as well as her own personal artwork. Her artwork, in particular, is well worth taking a look at as it displays yet another talent that Sarah seemingly possesses. The final odds-and-ends include a personal message from Sarah herself as well as facts and credits about each song on the album. The credits section specifically highlights the sheer amount of guest musicians that Sarah has worked with throughout her career. The list of guests is much too long to mention in its entirety, but notable musicians include Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle
, Nine Inch Nails
), Peter Murphy (Bauhaus
), Tony Levin (King Crimson
) and Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer
is definitely a labor of love – from the velvet bag and gold-shimmed hand-written thank-you card that accompanies each gig-drive, to the selfless way that she is giving the entire package away, it couldn’t be more obvious. For those that might need more convincing, though, the music itself should leave little doubt. Whether the song is a quiet little piano instrumental such as “Ant on a Wire” or any number of trip-hop and alt. rock tracks, the attention to detail and emotive vocals prove just how much of herself Sarah puts into every aspect of her music. The fact that this entire package is free is amazing, and should prompt even those that are only remotely interested to check out Karma Phala
– and if you like what you hear, you owe it to yourself to begin looking into her extensive back-catalog as well.