Kriistal Ann has already established a well known name in the modern coldwave scene, through her notable collaborations with various artists/bands from all over the world, as well as with her participation in Paradox Obscur and of course with her various solo albums.
"Touched on the Raw" should be regarded as her fourth proper solo album, leaving aside the album "Muse" (a collaboration with Aidan Casserly, in a more jazz oriented direction) and the very limited mini-album "For the Sake of Thee", both released in 2015.
Kriistal Ann, a very prolific and active music artist, manages to deliver her best and certainly most sophisticated work to date. Combining elements of minimal synth, modern coldwave and darkwave, along with saxophone and harmonica sounds in a more classical song instrumentation, under a floating dark ambient atmosphere, Kriistal Ann uses simple melodies in crystal clear fresh electronic sounds that match perfectly with her expressive vocal style.
"Touched on the Raw" is an album that doesn't limit itself in a specific music genre, instead it expands towards a very personal unique style, a true characteristic trademark sound one should say. The album consists of 9 songs plus 2 bonus remixes, running total about 46 minutes. Available in numbered limited edition digipak CD, as well as limited edition vinyl (omitting the 2 bonus remixes), the album comes with nice artwork, featuring top style black and white self-portrait photography and contains the lyrics to all the songs.

The album starts with "Lost in Frame", a perfect starter featuring Kriistal Ann singing in great mood and full welcoming confidence from the start. Then comes "Silver Rain", a more minimal synth oriented track containing saxophone and piano tunes, establishing a sweet nostalgic positive atmosphere. Next follows "Black Art", one of the best and most representative songs of the album. A song easily recognisable from the first listen, mainly because of Kriistal Ann's repetitive chorus lyrics. Soon after comes "Talking to the Beast", having possibly the best tune and lyric line of the whole album, this is probably the album's finest. Next comes "Solemn Disguise" a personal favorite of mine, a very smooth track featuring whispered vocals and trembling saxophone, producing such a great shivering atmosphere.
Then follows a very dynamic track called  "A Hundred Miles", based on a poem by 19th century Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, featuring Kriistal Ann's singing in full vocal range and secondary guest vocals by members of Italian band Spiritual Front, as well as notable saxophone solo parts by Dimitris Akrivoulis. Next comes "Going Back" a bittersweet song with a retrospective feeling and regretful lyrics. Then follows "Touched on the Raw" a track lyrically based on a quote by the famous American poet Sylvia Plath, acting more as a balance on the album's entity. Finally, the album ends with "Secret Shore" a spectacular track, starting shyly to later blossom beautifully into pure magic, featuring incomprehensible sampled vocals over irregular saxophone tunes. A perfect ending for sure!
The CD version concludes with 2 longer and well-made remixes of "Black Art" and "Talking to the Beast", that fit nicely without affecting the album's balance and atmosphere.
 Overall, "Touched on the Raw" is an album where the music gets the main role, leaving the vocals and vocal effects to a subsidiary role. Music is enriched with new layers of sounds, saxophone and harmonica, based on musical compositions that evolve and grow flowing beautifully. All songs are perfectly blended together, making a solid well-balanced album that won't tire you even after repetitive listening.

Review : Stefanos Stavrides