Frankie’s New “Geniza” is Intimate and Tender

. August 28, 2019.
Album cover art by Erin Wakeland.
Album cover art by Erin Wakeland.

Frances Master has been living inside of these three songs pretty intensely for the last year. She had written and released other works in the past but took them down because she saw them more as experimentations to further hone her (self-taught) production sensibilities. This EP, then, feels like a true debut in that sense. “Geniza” is a Hebrew word for a storage box for old documents and archives that are too old or fragile to be handled but they’re too sacred to ever be disposed of. “This E.P. felt like a storage box of things that are informative to me and who I am as a human being, but things that I didn’t need to be immediately accessible anymore.”

There’s something about a piano in general, and particularly about a singular voice such as Master’s, that would immediately and inevitably invite adjectives like intimate, tender, poignant, cathartic, calming… Master isn’t trying to make any listener cry, but “..I feel like they can relate to how vulnerable I’m being.” When she lists off her influences, from Nina Simone to Joni Mitchell, to Carol King, to Sara Bareilles, and even SZA, she adds that “..the best thing you can do is tell people, in a song, what’s wrong and be open about what’s hard for you, and that’s how people can respond to it.”

frances-master

The production on her new E.P. aurally evokes a sense of intimacy not only because of the earnest way in which she unpacks emotions and experiences in rhyme and melody, but also because the music sets the kind of tone one would expect for a bit of a hideaway setting, be it in one’s room, in one’s car, or, perhaps…a basement. There may be imprints on the final songs leftover from the manner in which Master became engaged with not only the lyrical subject matter but also honing her sensibility for arrangements. “I would always sneak into classrooms in the University (U-M School of Music) where there were pianos. One day, after a really hard day, I went in the evening and started playing and wrote (“Traces of You” & “Breathe Easy”) almost in that one night.”

That genesis, of stealing moments inside empty classrooms in the evenings, as well as the way in which lyrics kind of come to her very suddenly in the midst of her day, wherever she is, creates the sense that these songs were almost “found” in a way, rather than created, in a conventional sense. And that only adds to the intimacy.

For now, Master is planning on performing this and other material at shows around town but is taking a break from writing at the moment. She’s also kept busy by her role as one of the event planners for The CoOp community-centric music venue in Openfloor studios. Find more of her music on Spotify.

Trending

PowerArt! Three favorites From Ann Arbor’s Open-Air Museum

By K.A. Letts We expect public art— all those fountains, sculptures and murals— to express our civic soul, our collective values and our aspirations, providing visual relief from right angles and concrete. Ann Arbor’s PowerArt!, an ongoing project sponsored by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission, The Arts Alliance

Tyler Duncan On Versatility & Community

by Jeff Milo Music forges connections. And with an artist like Tyler Duncan spending the last 15 years in the producer’s chair for albums by Michigan-based artists, music cultivates versatility. Ann Arbor-based Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist composer/producer, Tyler Duncan’s fall/winter slate of production/writing-contribution credits include the forthcoming debut album by singer/songwriter Madeline Grant, followed by new releases

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

Identity in Distress

Ticket to Ride: Swizzille Trip’s ‘Psychedelic Friday’ Aug. 30 at The Blind Pig

Swizzille Trip will take Ann Arbor on a dreamy, unhinged sonic ride Friday night. The Detroit psych-rock trio will host “Psychedelic Friday” with Detroit Trouble, The Kenny Hill Group, Frame 42 and XLR8 at The Blind Pig. It will be a far-out musical journey filled with trippy, poppy and down-home blues-rock fitting for a Labor