Last year in my (what else?) glowing/enthusiastic write up of Constance Hauman’s epic five track “2nd Wave” bonus edition of her heartfelt, soulful and epic work The Quarantine Trilogy, I drew on the soprano turned electronic pop singer turned ambient/jazz/new age pianist’s project as indicative of the way so many artists, while deprived of the natural flow of touring and interacting with fans, were releasing “dynamic, insightful and hopeful projects that they could scarcely have imagined creating a year ago.”
To recap as I ponder the dynamically grooving, hopeful and bustling energy of the multi-talented musical visionary’s latest single “Taking Some Steps Ahead,” I wrote: “As its impactful title so eloquently indicates, The Quarantine Trilogy, Hauman’s uniquely engaging, highly improvisational five track instrumental EP, was only partially recorded during the lockdown, but its meditative, sonically inventive and seductively grooving tracks seem uniquely designed to carry us through the inner and outer storms to another realm in our consciousness.”
Interestingly, she released two versions of The Quarantine Trilogy – one with the three foundational pieces and a second version that included “Thought I Was Going to Lose It” (written in response to the killings and racial injustice issues that came to the forefront last year) and an earlier piece “Spirit,” that also met the cultural-spiritual moment perfectly.
Vibing and creating purposeful sonic magic again with her drummer and longtime collaborator Ross Pederson on midi drums and synths, Hauman is, true to the title of the expansive new track, in a decidedly more optimistic place, bursting at the seams to break free from the haunting reflections of quarantine time and disquieting social unrest so that she can embrace a future filled with just enough promise to get us on the road to the sunlight.
That energy hits us immediately with a glorious 40 seconds of hypnotic tribal drumming, followed by a spirited undercurrent of lively swirling piano notes and Hauman’s whimsical breathy laughter and her whispering, “steps to take ahead.” It’s a lively, spirited journey from there, as she spins a liberating, lighthearted jazzy melody over all sorts of sensual atmospheric cool, inventive percussion schemes and otherworldly ethereal hypnotic energies.
At about a minute and a half in, the tempo picks up into a grooving, light funk flow that feels like the perfect fusion of urban jazz and new age. Metaphorically speaking, it’s as though Hauman’s initial steps, while full of meaningful forward movement, are still a bit cautious – and then she shifts from a gentle gait into a full-blown walk-run as she sees and begins chasing the sun. She adds more of the human touch via further whispery vocalizing that feels prayerful and mantra like at times – and of course there’s a bit more laughter to let us know she’s still in good spirits.
Continuing to build stamina and sonic steam, “Taking Some Steps Ahead” engages in intense, densely percussive drum and swinging jazz piano jamming that impacts us like blazing pops of colorful emotion, complete with stratospheric vocalizing (some with words, some wordless) that feels like it’s going to carry us up on its hard flapping wings. Free from the confines of that quarantine, Hauman and Pederson are clearly embracing the fresh air of the outdoors and over seven and a half minutes keep sending out sonic blasts of invitation for us to join their jubilant celebration.
A little background for those previously unfamiliar with Hauman: A world renowned classical singer, she has over 2000 international performances to her credit, portraying over 70 different roles. Shifting gears in the late 2010s, her 2015 album Falling into Now showcased the pop side of her artistry amidst of blend of pop, jazz, orchestral and alternative blue-eyed soul vibes – a style she built upon on her 2019 album High Tides. She also served in numerous capacities for the indie rock-funk band Miss Velvet and The Blue Wolf. The Quarantine Trilogy launched an exciting new phase of her career, now continued in all manner of purpose and power with “Taking Some Steps Ahead.”