THERESA WONG – Venice Is A Fish

Sensitive Skin

Theresa Wong: cello, voice, tonkori, prepared piano

Titled after a book by Venetian writer Tiziano Scarpa and fundamentally born from a two-year sojourn in the city, Venice Is A Fish is a sweetly breviloquent essay decorated by translucent dreams in close connection with sensations related to concepts such as sailing at night and the acquisition of innermost cognition while misplaced. To render the representational process more persuasive, Wong – an endowed performer who’s not scared of subtracting rather than adding – employed the sources by following a philosophy of restraint enhanced by beautiful acoustic spirits. In the five-song cycle, we had no trouble in finding handles to clutch at: singable melodic cells, svelte piano arpeggios, peculiarly tuneful noises and, for this cursed Italian, the familiarity of the linguistic communication: in “Il Sogno”, surrealistic lyrics are characterized by an excellent pronunciation – better than many compatriots of mine – by the multi-talented prime mover. No need to worry about aesthetical shortages of any kind inside a wide-ranging musicality: old-time auras are perfumed by contemporary palettes, the primary colors being the percussive attributes of the prepared piano (“Lost Bird”) and the glorious shadings exhaled by the cello: in “Nightwatching”, the extreme detuning of the strings becomes the origin of a recollective vision, whereas “Fog Visitation” offers perhaps the foremost illustration of disciplined arco virtuosity. The album, which definitely deserves several attempts to fully disclose its depth, constitutes a satisfactory representation of Wong’s abilities together with the equally brilliant The Unlearning, released in 2011 by Tzadik but comprising material written subsequently to this one. It doesn’t matter anyway: just listen and hold the nimble gracefulness within yourselves.

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