Sublime isn’t quite a strong enough word to describe the stylings of pianist Nhung Nguyen. She comes to me from her experimental music background something I thank my friend and colleague C-Drik for), but this particular release, my favorite of her substantial back catalog, is something that would have done Andrei Tarkovsky (the famed director of the magnificent movie, Nostalghia) proud. It is a perfect album to simply relax to and let the mind wander a bit.
A hearty congratulations to Erased Tapes who turn 10 years old this year. This compilation features 20 exclusive tracks from their mighty roster, and not one is a disappointment.
1. Qasim Naqvi – Brutal Moderna 04:18
2. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Long May It Sustain 04:20
3. Rival Consoles – Ritual Song 05:10
4. Nils Frahm – Frau Dehlholm 03:05
5. Daniel Thorne – Iroise 05:47
6. Daniel Brandt – Blackpool Sands Forever 05:11
7. Douglas Dare – Darling 08:13
8. Michael Price – Eyn Hallow 04:17
9. Kiasmos & Högni – Zebra 03:43
10. Ben Lukas Boysen – Pending 04:44
11. David Allred – Ahoy 04:49
12. Anne Müller – Bel Tono 03:30
13. Lubomyr Melnyk – Palisade I 17:03
14. Hatis Noit – Inori 04:44
15. Masayoshi Fujita – Spaceship Magical 04:05
16. Högni – Máni 03:56
17. Peter Broderick – The Perpetual Glow 05:23
18. Arthur Jeffes & Nils Frahm – Up Is Good 05:35
19. Daniel Brandt – Blackpool Sands Forever (Rival Consoles Remix) 04:27
20. Penguin Cafe – Wheels Within Wheels (Greg Gives Peter Space Remix) 06:09
My old friend and former business partner, Michael Sheppard (who passed away a few years ago far too young), did me the honor of introducing me to the work of Italian pianist Alessandra Celletti. His label, Transparency Records, featured four of her works including a collaboration with German/Austrian Krautrock legend Hans-Joachim Roedelius.
I’ve had the pleasure of keeping in contact with her, and she has graciously notified me of her latest album, Sacred Honey, her second album dedicated to the compositions of Georges I. Gurdjieff and Thomas de Hartmann. It is available on Bandcamp as a CD (though not as a download, unfortunately) and for streaming above, courtesy of Spotify. For the first album inspired by Gurdjieff/de Hartmann, listen to it at Deezer.
The CDs ship out on April 15, just in time for Tax Day.
Equally important is the fact that Greek pianist Zinovia Arvanitidi, whose latest release, Ivory, was reviewed by us in February of this year, has released her debut on vinyl, courtesy of the Kitchen Label.
Greek pianist and composer Zinovia Arvanitidi has a new disc coming out, and if the one track she and record company Kitchen Label shared is any indication, it will be a spectacular release. From her Bandcamp site:
“There is a life and there is a death, and there are beauty and melancholy between.”
Born in Athens, Greek composer Zinovia Arvanitidi is most widely remembered as one half of the duo Pill-Oh in Vanishing Mirror as well as her debut solo The Gift of Affliction. Zinovia returns with her first solo piano album titled Ivory, and like its precursors, further highlights her mastery in crafting piano ambiances of austere beauty and melancholia, led by mesmerizing melodies and evolving cinematic textures.
Fully self-produced, the now France-based composer navigates through her own time-memory universe with Debussy-like impressionistic daubs, but sublimely she draws the listener into a strangely familiar landscape where the past confronts the present – it is perhaps a dimension that exists within all of us. As the chapters unfold, memories are untangled as darkness shifts into light. The minimalistic nature of the early piano pieces are then transformed, lush and ornate with orchestral strings, subtle electronic atmospheres, field recordings and airy whispers.
An omnipresent sense of duality lingers throughout the album, as with the ivory and ebony colours of piano keys, or the birth and decay of seasons. This is a work where the artist has grasped the essence of the quote by Albert Camus: “There is a life and there is a death, and there are beauty and melancholy between”. The aural journey heightens, then subsides with a newfound serenity in closing, engaging the listener to invoke their own introspections on acceptance and healing.
Rooted in film and television (and represented by film composer agency Oticons among the names of Shigeru Umebayashi and Jan A.P Kaczmarek), Zinovia’s well-versed background in cinematic scoring manifests in her dexterity at veiling intricacies within each track that only unveil themselves with each subsequent listen. As a fully expanded realisation of Zinovia’s artistic voice, Ivory will resonate with fans who love Pill-Oh, and appeal to those familiar with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Dustin O’Halloran.
French photographer Aëla Labbé’s enigmatic cover art photography once again unifies with Zinovia’s soundscapes since her work for Vanishing Mirror.
Zinovia Arvanitidi releases Ivory on 29 March 2018 on Piano Day via KITCHEN. LABEL worldwide. Available on 180g white vinyl LP, CD and DL.
March 29th can’t come fast enough for me.
The world of jazz mourned the loss of American pianist Geri Allen, who died on June 12th at the age of 60.
Our good friends at La Montaña Rusa, one of Spain’s best jazz podcasts, offers a program in tribute to Geri here:
Jeff Gburek’s first release of the year isn’t quite finished yet, and to be honest, I hope it simply grows and mutates. For those of you who can appreciate minimalist piano performances in the manner of some of Arvo Pärt’s best works, this release comes highly recommended. For the best effect, consider using a good pair of headphones or a 5.1 surround sound system to hear how gorgeous the separation of sound is handled.