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Some Small Kind Of Heaven,
This review is from: No 1 (Audio CD)
Christina Vantzou's album flew under my radar upon its release last Autumn.
I am very glad to have made its acquaintance now. An American artist, given
to collaborations with other multi-media projects, she appears here standing on
her own two feet with this collection of ten simply beautiful sonic inventions.
With the assistance of Mina Choi, director of an ensemble called Majik*Majik
Orchestra (I know nothing of their work I'm afraid), Ms Ventzou's musical
ideas have been given greater body and texture by their transcription for a
seven piece instrumental group and the use of additional electronic elements.
Although these works would fit comfortably under the 'ambient' banner there is
so much more to experience here, both in terms of melodic substance and dynamic
variation, than many other composers working within the same genre. What these
pieces have above all is a palpable sense of tenderness; a lone figure staring up
into the great blue beyond and trying to find meaning in the spaces between the stars.
Ms Vantzou's music bears some kinship with the work of Icelandic composer Johann
Johannson (his sublime 'Fordlandia' comes especially to mind) in her use of slow
tempi and and densely harmonic thematic material. As we listen it is not hard to
find ourselves conjuring vast shimmering landscapes in our mind's eye. The detail
begins to emerge with greater familiarity and it is as though we come to feel, as
well as hear, the sounds as much within us as around us. A humbling experience.
'No 1' is so much more than the sum of its parts. Inside looking out / outside
looking in, Ms Vantzou's vision delivers some small kind of heaven here on earth.