Maria Minerva readies ‘Bless’ EP for release
From the first notes of Maria Minerva’s upcoming EP, “Bless,” you know that this is blatantly Euro-beat pop music.
The five songs on this EP add up to nearly a half hour of music, sound formations that are informed by Minerva’s upbringing and adventures in the varied arts world.
When Minerva was born in the Baltic State of Estonia, it was still a part of the Soviet Union. A small country more connected to Finland than Russia, Estonia was invaded by the now-hero Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the early 1990s after the Baltic States tried to declare independence from the crumbling communist empire at that time.
Minerva describes her youth this way: “I was growing up in the ‘model’ concrete suburb of Tallinn called Õismäe, which was and still is heavily Russian; always on the … trolleybus (I hate trolleybuses); surrounded by (lousy) TV, badly produced 1990s Euro-disco, nylon/lycra clothes and so on.”
Eventually, Minerva went to London and earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s degree in visual cultural history. She traveled extensively and delved into the art world with various exhibits and also studied comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade.
All of the above has influenced – and describes – Minerva’s music. When you listen to “Bless,” which will be released April 2, Minerva’s voice is heavily manipulated. But again, with a different array of aural atmospheres and various beats offered, these songs are about bringing a comprehensive, multimedia performance art approach to the music instead of a vehicle to showcase her singing.
Opening with the cut called “Black Magick,” the spare drum machine beats, synth tracks and off-kilter vocals seem made-at-home-in-the-bedroom at best. I call this post-modern music, using the term, “post-modern,” as a synonym for “retro” in this case. There is no new ground being broken here.
But once you get the whole performance art approach to the music, it begins to make more sense and will grow on you. The next two tracks, “Space 4 U” and “Symbol of My Pleasure,” are more interesting, using trance and dub influences to create a mental adventure, should you close your eyes and give in to the multi-layered sonic landscape.
Finally, if you are looking to kick up your dance skids in blatant Euro-disco fashion, the last track is a “Lady Blacktronika’s Garage Trip Mix” of “Black Magick,” which is seven-plus minutes of fun beats.
If you are absolutely and thoroughly bored by the current state of modern music and need a completely different and skewered approach to help cleanse the palate, a musical arctic ice breaker to crack through the banality of the current scene, this may be the album for you.