Album Review

Astolfi, Jeri-Mae G. – “Here (and There)” – [Innova/American Composers]

cinder   3/14/2013   A Library, CD

Jer-Mae is a Canadian born pianist, who has been described as brilliant, persuasive and beautiful. She has a passion for new music, so on this release she commissioned and collaborated with a few new names. Each piece is composed by someone, and I believe she plays the majority of it. There’s all sorts of sprinklings of piano. Some tracks are quite imaginative in their outlooks. The first “alludes to the lush, rugged beauty of Crystal Springs, Arkansas”, while the second “recalls peaceful moments spent lying in the grass”. There’s the completely minimal playing of track 3, the kind of piano you’d hear in a foreign film when the wife finds out her husband died in the war, silent tears. Track 5 contains all sorts of fun field recordings – fireworks, explosions, fire, burning cinders, rain and thunder, restless water, streams, crickets… it slowly evolves from one location to another, all while having some classical piano laid atop. The final piece has spoken words from Janyce Collins reading from Joseph Dalton Hooker’s ‘Himalayan Journals’ (1854). Electronically processed sounds created from the rhythms of her voice, as well as piano and bell tones accompany. Really lovely.

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