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Reviews
"A musical sound like none other that I have heard before.
You must hear her music for yourself."
--Christopher Conner
Queenie
"With a breathy vocal style and ambient piano chording, Frances Mai-Ling's "Tears in my Palm",
invokes the style she is most known for in this lament. Her voice is similar to Aimee Mann,
her piano playing reminds me of an introspective Billy Joel. This track deals
with the theme of lost love and combines melancholic piano solos with poetic lyrics.
On "Naiad's Song", Revisiting Shakespeare, Frances Mai-Ling writes for the Tempest
in this evocative track. Utilizing string sounds and plucked guitar harmonics, this
track quickly becomes a slow easy-listening new age rock song. Although the
ideas contained within Naiad's song are extremely original and compelling, it needs
refinement in the sound studio to truly bring it to its full potential.
"This instrument only piece [Did, Diana"] was written exclusively as a soundtrack for the
Taming of the Shrew, Shakepeare's famous play, in which Petruchio recites,
"Did ever Diana".A slow, angelic piece written for a full soprano/alto/tenor/bass chorus,
this atmospheric arrangement of vocal lines is done on a keyboard. The harmonies are
simple and affirmative and sound a little like early music."
-- singersongwriter- queeniemusic.com
Dax
"Mai-Ling's three song disc begins with the dark and richly orchestrated "Naiad's Song,"
drawing the listener in with understated beats and echo-laden, mysterious vocals.
"Rain" showcases Mai-Ling's excellent piano work in a highly emotional instrumental
piece - nosequenced keyboards here! The third song on the disc, "My Last Excuse," is the
most radio friendly, with a dramatic chorus that reminds the listened of Kate Bush in her heyday."
-- Dax.org
Anna Maria Stjärnall
"Singer and composer Frances Mai-Lings a very versatile performer. She has written music for Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and this 'Awakening' is another good sample of her art. She accompanies herself on piano and sings thoughtful songs on love and life. Mai-Ling is very adept at conveying emtion with simple means. A good example of this is "Tears in my Palm" which only needs voice and piano to be affecting. It's an album that will get under the listener's skin"
--Collected Sounds
Andy Argyrakis
"Between her chilling piano balladry and high-range vocals, it's clear that Frances Mai-Ling is a huge fan of Tori Amos and Bjork. On Universoul.Woman.Volume.Two, she makes a gallant effort to reach those heights, and although it's impossible to match either act's radiance, Mai-Ling's five-song disc is still worth a shot. On "Hold On" and "My Last Excuse" she demonstrates cautious vocals over beautiful piano arrangements, backed by the melancholy tingling of "Tears In My Palm" and the bitterness ballad, "Spite." "Understatement" takes a wordless approach, which may be sparse in its lack of anything other than piano layering, but it still provides a soothing chill-out soundtrack. "
-- Illinois Entertainer
"No Passing Zone" is Frances Mai-Ling's 9th Independent release This is a nice
moody CD filled with lovely piano music. Frances is an accomplished composer with a couple of
Shakespeare play's scores under her belt. She plays very well with intricate quick finger work
and interesting melodies. "Spite" is one of my favorites with its upbeat sound that makes
me want to dance around. "Bring Me To" is also really cool. It's eerie and soothing at the
same time. She then pops right into the lively and almost staccato-ish "Did, Diana"
which is a change of pace, but a cool song too. A lot of these songs remind me of my younger
days when my mother owned a ballet studio in our home and there was classical music
going on constantly. This music is perfect for that. But even if you don't ballet dance, it's a lovely recording"
--Collected Sounds
timb
"Frances Mai-Ling's new album "No Passing Zone" is absolutely beautiful and amazing. Her beautiful piano ballads are top-notch great songwriting. Some of the instrumental tracks drew me in and made me sort of misty-eyed. Very powerful stuff. mai-ling, I gotta hand it to you, I feel like I need to get a piano and get to work when I listen to these brilliant songs.
NPZ gets the highest Timbcommendation. Pick up a copy if you haven't already"
--enchantogen.com
Dennis Halsey
Frances Mai-Ling's tenth release 'Best Kept Secret' is a collection of instrumental pieces.
Wanting it to be special she found these pieces in her archives and blended them
together in a way to make a coherent whole for the listener. It is obvious
to the listener that Frances is a well-trained pianist. 'Love' is a beautiful song
for flute and cello and, without any words, clearly conveys a feeling of what love is like.
I first listened to this CD while enjoying my Sunday morning coffee and newspaper
and it was the perfect backdrop. It could also make for great dinner party music.
'Starslider - Sonnet #132' contains a vocal track backed by some aggressive,
yet gentle piano playing. 'Dance of The Imps' is a number that may also be of
interest to the listener. All Mai-Ling's compositions have great movement and show an
understanding of how the instrument works. Frances comprehends the full range of compositions, going from songs like 'Carnaval' to 'Fiddler Forbear.' Mai-Ling is a gifted instrumentalist as well as composer and her music is worth the time to give it a listen
--The Best Female Musicians
- Matt Hersh
" 'Best Kept Secret' is a CD full of variety and vigor. While Mai-Ling would probably be considered a
classical pianist, there is much more to her. This is thinking music. It is most certainly not a
passive experience. It grabs your attention and won’t let go until the final track is through. It is a
musical journey through the world of a fabulous musician. Prepare to be inspired.
The range of emotions explored is great. The songs go from happy to melancholy,
from lighthearted to serious. Every single track evokes emotion from the listener
imploring the listener to listen on and hear what is next. There is music that exists
designed for specific moods. This CD encompasses a large variety of them. Whatever
mood you’re in, this CD is no doubt appropriate. The start of each new track catches
you by surprise because you never know what to expect. I went though an entire
spectrum of emotions and thoughts while listening to this record. To me, anyone
who can display such talent on one instrument is a tremendous musician. After
only one full listen, I love this CD. It is an emotional, eloquent, and tranquil
experience that stimulates the senses. If she plays anywhere near my area,
I will be sure to attend because I’m sure watching her perform would
be enlightening. I find that I have a new appreciation for classical music. Even if
you’re not a fan of classical music or don’t know anything about it, pick up this CD.
It will broaden your horizons and open you up to an entire world of great music."
-- Indie-Music.com
- Ben Ohmart (Assistant Editor), Music Dish
Says the author - 'Best Kept Secret' is a word riddle of sorts. It came about while I was
pondering and planning this release.' Not sure what the riddle is, but I do know that Frances
has been scoring for plays (works by Moliere and Shakespeare) and it tells in her music here.
At times the compositions are simple, as they must be in order not to upstage the show, while
other times they are playfully tuneful, as 'Dance of the Imps' clearly illustrates. It's an electronic
bounce like you might expect from The Residents or early Brian Eno.
I've heard a lot of drama scores, including John Franceschina's delightful cd, and Frances' mode
of composition is very favorable to the climate stage audiences want to enjoy. It may be a little
hard on listeners of pop cds, not knowing what direction the composer is coming from. But if you
know, and you know the genre, Mai-Ling has created a sound that is both pleasing to the ear andthe mind's eye which is still trying to figure out exactly what scene should be playing to each track.
--Music Dish