The hybridization of dissimilar sound sources is a stimulating field of exploration, and no one more than Andrew Chalk is a master in transforming a simple idea into the sonic depiction of a feeling of overhanging dejection. After her admirable debut on this very label – Of Beauty Reminiscing – pianist Vikki Jackman continues to look at the different approaches to this kind of process. These nine tracks are a decisive step forward in terms of sheer daintiness of the music, although essentially based on the same components. The large part is in fact constructed upon rarefied touches of piano, at times played as in a state of sluggish sadness (“Empty Rooms”), elsewhere modified by studio treatments that cause the instrument to become unrecognizable.
Chalk is definitely present, perhaps with impalpably tailored guitars, bass and additional processing: in a track like “The Softest Blue” plucked strings are traceable amidst spellbinding layers of slow-moving shades. Despite the glitches and hissing frequencies of pieces such as “Never A Wave” trying to shift the music’s gravity centre towards a “current” brand of entrancing electronica the nostalgic factor remains as always preponderant, and there’s no doubt that the unclothed minimalism of these transformed melodic snippets is a critical element in the overall mood of the disc, which – despite being credited to Jackman alone – should positively be called a shared effort. Indeed there are several sections that distinctly recall Chalk’s own work and – especially in “Dreams” and “A Summer Interlude”, both enriched by beautiful field recordings of birds and urban environments – also Brian Eno’s, when the latter was still above suspicion of compromise.
Egoless manifestations of innocence that by no means we’ll cease to appreciate, more than ever when life events force us in a corner and start hitting hard to the body.