Acclaimed Belgian dark-jazz singer/flautist Melanie De Biasio's new album No Deal was released in the US on May 27th to follow its tremendous success in Europe. Initially heralded as a new voice in jazz with her debut album A Stomach is Burning, this new sophomore album has already gone gold in Belgium, silver in France and was featured as “Album of the Week” on Gilles Peterson’s influential BBC 6 Music show. De Biasio’s semi-improvised, dark, minimalist approach to the genre will reward any music-lover willing to take the time to immerse themselves in No Deal.
Originally from Charleroi and currently based in Brussels, De Biasio is a classically trained flautist and the former singer in a jazz trio, though hers is not the jazz of hotel lobbies and lounge bars. No Deal should appeal to fans of late-period Talk Talk, who’s Mark Hollis is a huge figure for De Biasio. She also cites Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd as formative influences, plus Nina Simone and Abbey Lincoln, two icons of the civil rights fight and spokeswomen of an aggressive jazz stripped of any affectation.
No Deal comes in at 33 1/3 minutes and contains just seven songs, through which De Biasio’s voice drifts gracefully, at times disappearing altogether. With Pascal Paulus on keyboards, Pascal Mohy on classical piano, and Dre Pallemaerts on drums, De Biasio has streamlined everything to give more space to her extraordinary vocals. She has been called the “Belgian Billie Holiday”; there is something delicately haunting about her voice and delivery which compels repeated listens.
Veteran American jazz DJ Dave Wade stated that “No Deal is like an excursion into exotic uncharted territory, dangerous, but with the promise of a rich reward. De Biasio has a warm, dark, and sultry voice and a style that’s hard to pinpoint, one which blends the rhythmic incantatory feeling of Nina Simone with some sexy shades of Sade, and even echoes of the Velvet Underground.”
Even when her voice disappears into the shadows with mesmeric piano and percussion guiding us through to the end, rarely has a record unfurled as many dark beauties and hidden luminescence while remaining completely accessible, simultaneously attractive and disconcerting.
"Imagines a more jazz-informed Portishead headlining a noirish nightclub in an as-yet unreleased David Lynch movie. De Biasio's dreamy, intoxicating sound makes any room feel a little darker." — Los Angeles Times
"It is seductive in a cinematic kind of way. Her voice has a dark-hued sultriness underscored with an air of longing. Songs like 'The Flow' could fit in on the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie." — Jazziz
“Transcendent songs that seem to suspend time.” **** — The Guardian
“On a line between a beats-free Portishead and a subtle union of the voices of June Christy and Mahalia Jackson.” **** — MOJO