CD Review: “A Light in the Distance” by Meganne Stepka

Meganne Stepka is a muse. There’s no other word for it. She stands in a gallery with the likes of Tori Amos and Shirley Manson, singers that I can turn on and find the inspiration I need to pursue my own creative ventures.

The work found on “A Light in the Distance” is astonishing. That some of these tracks were composed live, “freestyle,” is mind-blowing. Nothing sounds unprepared.

My one criticism of Glass Audrey’s “Little Waves” was that too much electronic filtering had been added to Meganne’s voice. When asking me to review this new album, Meganne told me she was curious what I’d think, since this was a completely low-tech recording, just her and a video camera. As a “sound-guy,” someone who handles audio equipment for live events and has handled the sound board for bands and demo recording, I may be a bit too picky about where the happy-medium is for sound quality. Meganne’s camera has captured the purity of her voice and performance, but also allows too much background noise into the mix. During the first track, “Unlearn,” I find myself imagining how I’d set up for the recording, where I would’ve adjusted the sound board levels before running the audio to the camera’s mic input. But that’s what sound-guys do. By the time “A Magical Place” is playing, I’ve finished adjusting my stereo’s EQ and simply immerse myself in the music.

Recommended listening method: Either on a stereo with a good EQ mixer or on an iPod with the EQ set to “Rock,” sitting in a comfortable recliner in a dark room with no distractions.