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Holding the Mirror for Sophia Loren

KK 078CD KK 078CD

Following their 2010 release The Decline of Female Happiness, Donna Regina are back with a new album on Karaoke Kalk. The project was formed by the husband and wife team Regina and Günther Janssen over 20 years ago, and this is no less than their 12th studio album. Their extensive career has seen them remixed by the likes of Matthew Herbert and Mouse On Mars. Regina Janssen has also worked -- amongst others -- with the French musician Bertrand Burgalat, who released a compilation of Donna Regina's work on his label Tricatel. But it's in their own records and songwriting that their true musical skill comes to light as this album shows. It starts with the title-track -- a tribute to a deceased friend of theirs. The album's decidedly international character is left in no doubt by "Les claviers de couleurs" -- sung in French, inspired by the beautiful names of colors on the scale of Swiss architect Le Corbusier. "Carlos" has a distinctly dubby musical vibe; the muted trumpet, improvised like the bass clarinet and harp by musician Volker Griepenstroh, chorus of "lost and found," and dub production make it feel like a Grace Jones track. "Cities" has more of a straight techno-pop groove, with a 4/4 driving beat, while the lyrics take us on a world tour that tells a story of non-conformity and alienation. "Koyasan" takes this international affair even further afield with a trip to the mountain range near Osaka in Japan where Donna Regina's music has achieved considerable popularity and was even used in a Nissan commercial. "For the Love Of" is based upon the inspired juxtaposition of an industrial rhythm and a cheery piano riff, while "Escúchame" is based on a text written by the artists Graw Böckler from Berlin. "Gatsby" is also driven by a solid 4/4 techno beat. Holding the Mirror for Sophia Loren is Donna Regina's 7th album on Karaoke Kalk and over their many releases, the band has clearly perfected the electronic pop format. Their latest offering is packed full of delightful nuances both in the lyrical content and the production as well as in the arrangements. For the first time in their production history, they let somebody else do the mixes -- Polish musician Michal Jacaszek who also co-produced the album.