By Jane Roser
Singer-songwriter Giulia Millanta’s sixth solo album, “Conversations With A Ghost” is what I’d imagine hanging out with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave in a smoky Manhattan cocktail bar must be like. It’s smoldering, mysterious and a spellbinding spiritual awakening.
Born in Florence, Italy and currently residing in Austin, Texas, Millanta is an accomplished guitarist who sings in four languages, plays the ukulele and sings like a nightingale. All twelve tracks were written by Millanta or co-written with Gabriel Rhodes and Max Larocca. Produced by Millanta and Rhodes and recorded live by Carter Greeves at Sunbird Studio, “Conversations With A Ghost” explores themes of loneliness, recklessness and frustration, but also in discovering beauty in the simple joys all around you.
The opening track “Blinded By The Sun” showcases Millanta’s lush voice as she confesses to having “no rhyme, so reason, just things I’ve done/I played with life nervously like a gun” while “Puppet On A String” is laced with intimacy and a fantastic vintage circus vibe which would have fit perfectly in a scene from Wim Wender’s “Wings of Desire”.
“Violence” conjures up intense imagery of a dark, desolate street where something frightening could be lurking in the shadows: “Don’t appear to understand/The evil that’s inside man.” Song placement is so interesting on this album; as soon as you’ve been freaked out by The Purge, “Coney Island” gracefully cascades by and transports you to another era. It’s a lovely, jazz-laced melody and when Millanta sings about a distant memory of thunderstorms, you can almost feel the rain tickling your shoulder.
“Conversations With A Ghost” is soulful, poetic and yes, haunting. While we may have our feet firmly planted on the ground, our ghosts continue to dance around us.
Rating: Bad Ass