Christina Vantzou: composition, synthesizers, samples; Minna Choi: notation, arrangement; unspecified 15-piece orchestral ensemble.
I genuinely dislike records that are unquestionably delightful to hear, but whose polite appearance hides a cosmetically enhanced falsity. Luckily No.2 does not belong to that category, in spite of its ear-cuddling orchestrations and ability of immediately adapting to a soul’s condition. Vantzou’s second album was more or less conceived via the same procedures of her first, long months of preparatory activity culminated in the transformation of artificial sketches into a fully fledged cycle of broodingly (and sincerely) mournful orchestral elegies. The ongoing cooperation with Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie (who handled the final mixes while adding a few textural shades) represents a snapshot of the frozen acoustic lakes where this filmmaker and composer loves to skate. The lights are blinding over there, silence inspiring poignant melodic lines, untrained female voices appearing in spots to accentuate the music’s aerial emotionality. Although anyone with a modicum of listening experience may come up with additional comparisons – incontestable uniqueness not being a particular privilege of this type of proposal – there’s not a sonic fragment in sight that could be identified as cheesy or duplicitous (including “Going Backwards To Recover That Which Was Left Behind”, a piece that might have been penned by a Tim Story/Mark Isham joint venture). The minutes float away in total composure as we’re nearly dubious of having listened to everything, such is the impalpable character of the memories remaining inside. A reverberating caress for the mind, accompanying personal worries and uncertainties with the required dose of consolatory frequencies bathing in thoughtful simplicity. Still, don’t look back at your life’s missed chances when this is spinning.