Album Review: Ana Patan, “Spice, Gold, and Tales Untold”

I was recently introduced to Berlin-based Ana Patan’s music, and I was immediately impressed at the combination of sophisticated music and broadly relatable human themes. Her latest album, Spice, Gold, and Tales Untold is an eclectic exploration of life and love, abounding with witty insights and philosophical musings.

The album is a clever mix of singer-songwriter rock, jazz, and features a fantastic lineup of musicians: Zoltan Csörsz (Flower Kings) on drums, Jamal Evans on percussion, and Jonas Hellborg on bass (although there are also several tracks that feature Jonathan Herrera on bass, as well as surprise bass performance from none other than Devin Townsend on “Trivialize Love”). Jonas Hellborg (who has worked with everyone from Ginger Baker to Shawn Lane to John McLaughlin) also made significant musical and technical recommendations, which helped the album take shape. But, the skill of these musicians is most evident in the fact that they know how to step back and allow Ana to take center stage and shine. Her vocals are emotive and pure, and her guitar playing is both direct and full of flourishes and clever melodic lines.

Ana covers lots of musical ground on this album: from the indie-rock-esque “The Human”, to the jazzy bossa nova of “Soarele Meu” (a lovely song sung in her native Romanian), to the soft, whimsical ballad “Hot Hot”. Though there is definitely a jazzy streak throughout, Ana shows that she can’t be pigeonholed by one label or genre, and manages to be diverse while still maintaining authenticity throughout each song and soundscape.

Ana Patan’s album Spice, Gold, and Tales Untold is an authentic, clever set of songs that covers a wide range of human emotions. Ana’s musings are at times heartfelt, other times cheeky, and other times weighty. In all, the album is a warm, intelligent, soul-expanding album that is absolutely worth your attention.

Spice, Gold, and Tales Untold was released on February 10, 2021. Buy it here, on her Bandcamp page.

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