Norine Braun | Now & Zen

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Pop: Today's Top 40 Urban/R&B: Funk Moods: Mood: Fun
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Now & Zen

by Norine Braun

Ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz and a dash of punk mix it up and flow on this spirited ascension.
Genre: Pop: Today's Top 40
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Jade
3:34 $0.99
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2. Now & Zen
3:59 $0.99
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3. Intimate Hour
4:39 $0.99
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4. Buffalo Nights
4:55 $0.99
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5. J'en Suis Desolee
4:16 $0.99
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6. I'm the 1
4:05 $0.99
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7. Survival of the Richest
2:41 $0.99
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8. Gently
3:57 $0.99
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9. Maya
1:03 $0.99
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10. Understanding
3:30 $0.99
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11. Maya
0:51 $0.99
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12. Be Brave
2:39 $0.99
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13. Lucky 13
5:00 $0.99
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14. Move The Clouds
3:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Norine Braun, Canada's Queen of Eclectic Pop, Adds Another Flawless Jewel To Her Crown With "Now and Zen"

Norine Braun's music has always existed on its own terms, falling into that titillating, refreshingly original space to the left of "trendy," craftily sidestepping the all-too-easily-dismissed stigma often applied to the "female singer/songwriter," and freewheeling unhindered around the rigid shackles of "genre."

Along with savvy producer and multi-instrumentalist James Bowers, Braun has accumulated an extraordinary discography of unpretentious, personal songs anchored by her sweet, confident voice and genteel composition. Together, the pair crafts tuneful, friendly songs with subtle but effective arrangements, dynamic and graceful and memorable.

Now, Braun is back with her fifth CD, Now & Zen, and on these fourteen tracks Braun shows an even greater depth and maturity. Now & Zen expands on her penchant for jazzed up, funk-tinged pop, and shows this gifted songstress taking bold steps on her soulful journey into self-exploration. The torch song, "Move the Clouds," is evocative and inspirational, anchored by easy lounge piano and a melody as delicate as flower petals. The groovy "J'en Suis Desolee" showcases Braun's confident rap, surprising and rocking with an edgy explosion of homegirl verve.

Artsy and intellectual, tuneful and savvy, Norine Braun will zing to the heart of any listener.

BUY NOW ! Discover Norine Braun's Now and Zen!

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Reviews


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D.M. Talley

Beauty and Perfection
Right now I think that is very safe to say that anyone who overlooks this CD is missing an opportunity to have one of the most creative and innovative projects that has been out in years. The undercurrent of the album is pretty much about love, fate, life, compassion, freedom, and many other topics that give your mind food for thought. In a word, the album is brilliant. Buy it now!
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Len Rogers Stonewall Society

Eclectic and bold, "Now & Zen" is one of the most exciting CD's of the year.
From start with "Jade" through track fourteen "Move The Clouds", Norine Braun gathers all her tools and more to the point uses them with expert delivery and style. Jazzy, hip-hop, and a little punk thrown in for spice. "Now & Zen" shows the broad spectrum of Norine's talent. Totally enjoyable and packed with turns in genre. Notably is Braun's ability to vocally master these genres with comfort and confidence. Spirituality is again an under riding theme to "Now & Zen"  as with one of her previous CD's "Crow".  Self acceptance, understanding, and exploration are all a part of her message. Eclectic and bold, "Now & Zen" is one of the most exciting CD's of the year. Another of Braun's strengths is in the artists with which she is surrounded. All bring together an unforgettable musical experience.

     At times laid back, then swinging into danceable, the journey is filled with enticing hooks and strong lyrics. Norine Braun is not an artist who will or can be pigeonholed into a set type or genre. One of her charms is her ability to be a musical chameleon. Easily and seamlessly changing from one distinct style to another. The music is at times haunting as in "Jade", then  a 'stick to the ribs' catchy as in "J'en Suis Desolee". 

     Picking a favorite would be extremely difficult for this reviewer. However, the aforementioned "Jade", and "J'en Suis Desolee" would be among the top to come to mind. "Be Brave" is a compassionate song of emotion. Truly one of the most beautiful I have heard. The closing song, "Move The Clouds" is a self explorative, musically retrospective and jazzy journey into self, control and self exploration. Dealing with desires, anger, and self acceptance. A closing which in traditional Norine Braun flair and style will leave you hungry for more. Lots more!!!!
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Dennis Halsey The Best Female Musicians

I can recommend Now and Zen to listeners of all genres. That is a rare find.
Norine Braun is a Vancouver based artist who is not afraid to make music on her own terms. She has been called "jazzed up, funk tinged pop." That should tell you how her music defies conventional categorization.

"Jade" is a hard hitting number with a strong bass line and the listener expects they are about to hear a CD in the Alternative genre. Norine quickly shifts gears for the hip-hop/rap number "Intimate Hour." And Norine shows she has the chops to carry off the number. A remix of this could easily become a dance club standard.

Once you're expecting one thing Norine shifts gears again with "Buffalo Nights,"
a song that could easily receive playtime on Adult Alternative Radio. Sometimes when you have a CD like this with songs of such diverse style you wonder if you are listening to a musician who has not found her path yet, this never comes to mind listening to "Now & Zen." Norine places these songs perfectly to make the CD work as a whole.

"j'en Suis Desolee" is a pure rock and roll tune, with the addition of some spoken word parts. Norine shows her ability at spoken word. Each song amazes me in its bending of genres, professionalism musicianship, and artistic integrity. Usually I recommend CDs to listeners
who like a certain genre, I can recommend Norine Braun's "Now & Zen" to listeners of all genres. That is a rare find.
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Gail Worley ink19

...dig out Norine Braun's Now & Zen. You'll thank yourself.
OK, just get past the somewhat disquieting disembodied head cover art and listen to this CD. People throw the word "eclectic" around a lot these days when describing CDs that fall outside the commercial mainstream, but pop vocalist Norine Braun's latest disc earns that label. Now & Zen is a pretty cool mix of styles – she calls it, "ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz and punk" -- that maintains a cohesive focus. It's also a lot of fun.

Like jazz-pop vocalist Martha Lipton, Norine Braun has a lovely, flexible voice that sounds natural covering a variety of styles. The insistent chant-like refrain on "Intimate Hour" -- "Intimate hour become surreal power hour" -- has an appealing hip-hop feel and an undeniable commercial hook. On the bluesy/funk rock "J'en Suis Desolee" -- mixing sung choruses with spoken verses -- her voice sounds a lot like Debbie Harry. Similarly, "I'm The 1" sounds like it could have come off a lost Blondie album from 1980. When Norine shifts gears to the laid-back, southwestern-style acoustic guitar and trumpet accompaniment on "Survival of the Richest," it doesn't sound at all out of place

Now & Zen most reminds me of the soundtrack to a favorite musical film or play, where you run to the record store immediately after leaving the theater in order to grab the album before the songs can fully leave your consciousness. That's a pretty big compliment. Search a little deeper into the pop music pile and dig out Norine Braun's Now & Zen. You'll thank yourself.
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Steve Allat

I count on Norine being one of the pioneers to lead the way, with CD's like 'Now
Right from the first song, 'Jade', I felt comfortable listening to Norine. I just knew this would be a delightful journey.

Norine's fifth CD finds her in a place where she is very comfortable with herself and her many modes of expression. She morphs effortlessly from songstress to spoken word artist to rapper to rebel punk screamer (check out her pipes at the end of I'm the 1). The beauty of it is that it never sounds forced. That's the sign of an artist who has reached a mature level of self-awareness and acceptance to be confident enough to explore the many facets of expression available within.

Every song on the CD offers up something catchy, with words worth paying attention to. You can tell that Norine has something on her mind, or more specifically a state of mind, and that she wants to share her experience of life with us all, very openly. Ahh, artistic expression. When I am interested enough to listen to spoken-word and rap elements in a song, then there's something good going on. Even when speaking and rapping, her sense of melody and style truly help make it listenable.

The trick that Norine has accomplished here isn't an easy one. To blend various musical styles and esoteric lyrics into one accessible whole is a great accomplishment unto itself. I believe that says a lot for her state of mind - this work being a reflection of that.

While we may not have heard Norine's songs in the mainstream yet, that only tells me one thing. It isn't artists like Norine who need to adapt, it's the mainstream. I count on Norine being one of the pioneers to lead the way, with CD's like 'Now & Zen' being a prime mover.

Norine . . . I know why you love to sing.
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Gregg Shapiro Windy City Times

The sheer variety sets Braun apart.
Norine Braun describes the songs on Now & Zen (Braun and Brains) as “ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz and punk,” and she’s right. The sheer variety sets Braun apart. She lures the listener in with the melodic pop of “Jade,” and shifts gears on the darkly laid out folk of the title track. “Intimate Hour” and “Buffalo Nights,” respectively, deliver the hip hop and jazz vocal touches referred to by Braun, while funk and punk, respectively, butt heads on “J’en Suis Desolee” and “I’m The 1.” And that’s just the first half of the disc.
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DJ Pusspuss The San Francisco Spectrum

a seasoned feast of soulful folk rock mixed liberally with jazzy chunks and flyi
Norine Braun's "Now & Zen" is a seasoned feast of soulful folk rock mixed liberally with jazzy chunks and flying vocals to lift your inner funk. A Canadian singer/songwriter, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist and producer James Bowers, Norine channels the purity of folkers and the depth, funkiness and edge of Laurie Anderson. My fave picks are "Gently", "Maya" (including the lovely acapella version) and "Lucky 13."
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Heidi Drockelman Indie-music.com

Now & Zen has great depth, versatility and provides a fresh alternative to
So much of how opinions are formed come from first impressions, but the mere fact that after many listens, Now & Zen still remains fresh is a testament to the individuality and creativity of Norine Braun as an artist and songwriter. This disc jumps all over the genre map, finding refuge in rock, classical, jazz, and avant-garde along its journey. Braun herself is an interesting mixture of equal parts Blondie, Bjork and Margo Timmins. Smooth one minute and rockin’ out the next. It’s a rare quality, and one that Braun capitalizes on to keep things interesting while exploring the many facets of her own personality.

The production work on this disc is also something of note. Everything is very crisp, has taken great care in its attention to detail, and flows seamlessly from one song to the next. James Bowers provides playful and interactive backup on almost all instruments and really pulls out the best in Braun.

Now & Zen has great depth, versatility and provides a fresh alternative to pretty much anything you could get your hands on in the mainstream progressive rock world. What a fantastic way to be introduced to a talented woman.

Standout tracks: title track, “I’m the 1”, “Intimate Hour”
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