Half of The Dead Texan duo together with Adam Wiltzie (of Stars Of The Lid renown), Christina Vantzou is a film-maker based in Kansas City. She composed No.1 – her debut release – with a computer and a series of orchestral samples, which were in turn translated into genuine acoustic reflections by Minna Choi, who adapted the initial version to a septet. The record has been praised most everywhere and – if one doesn’t look to be shocked by an album – quite deservedly so. Vantzou’s sonorities move in fact along the same coordinates of the above mentioned projects (especially SOTL) with a pinch of Eno (circa Pachelbel’s reworking on Discreet Music). Cinematic inertia utilizing concordant harmonies held for long periods, in addition to shifting superimpositions of semitransparent washes which, at certain levels, create moderate conflicts between the upper partials, thus balancing hypothetical excesses of saccharides. Aside from the sensitive soul that Vantzou obviously possesses, what must be evidenced is the deeply melancholic nature of the whole: the disc was kept spinning for hours without the appearance of even a glimpse of a smile. Yet the propensity to glumness is counterpointed by the richness of the sonic tissue: intoxicant aural substances outspread and resonate, vaporized physicality and irremediable regret influencing our slow response to the surrounding events.
(Reviewer’s note: a DVD version including Vantzou’s movies plus “No.1 Remixes” has been released, but this writeup refers to the original CD)