CHARITY CHAN – Somewhere The Sea And Salt

Ambiances Magnétiques

Charity Chan: piano, objects

Judge of the Tribunal of Hip Reviewers: “Aren’t you ashamed, Mr. Ricci, of writing now about an album released in 2009?”

Consider me unrepentant, Your Honor. Instead I should feel mortified in admitting that this is the very first chance for Chan’s music to shape up my ears, all the more so in consideration of her coaction with gentlemen whose business was inspected quite a few times here and elsewhere (step forward, Damon Smith and Weasel Walter). However, the wondrously titled Somewhere The Sea And Salt is so good that it deserves deeper immersions, a top-grade effort by a light-sensitive performer.

From the get-go one envisions a conspicuous withdrawal from anything that might have been predictable. The modus operandi animating these recordings is rather nonadjacent in regard to your average solo piano outing. Chan is truly inspired by the expressive properties of the instrument’s reverberation, acting as a medium between the unceasing invisible motility that comprises the core of our individuality and the wood/string interrelation turning her gestures into magnificent crystals – either finished or relatively unsmooth – of acoustic matter. She does not use preparations, still applying disparate means to summon forth vibrational radiance: mallets, eBows, Tibetan bowls, mbiras. The tracks – including the clangorous ones – are all gifted with a spectral perfume, presenting the listener with the refreshing sensation of witnessing events occurring within a higher domain of aliveness. When the Canadian decides to play according to “conventional” know-how (that is to say, employing the mere keyboard) there’s no way to remain disgruntled by even the slightest hint of humdrum tactic. Let’s just say that Chan seems to be aware of what is needed to let a sonic conflict be accepted as natural phenomenon (namely, what it indeed is: the cosmos evolves by contrast, yet the masses keep hopelessly looking for painless resolutions, thick-witted rhymes and abecedarian harmonies to quiesce brains in dire need of a critical fine-tuning).

Chiming intelligence to spare, and what an anti-feminist critic would call “feminine grace” spell out 44 minutes of luminous transport. Episodes like “Five-Hundred Echoes” and the gorgeously rumbling “Eleusinian Mysteries” could be utilized as a therapy against the phony worshipping of nondescript masters of nullity. I’d be willing to sleep for days inside this cathedral.

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