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Lien, Christen: Elpis

Christen Lien is billed as an avant-garde artist who specializes in the viola. Elpis is her debut release.

Elpis, the personification of hope, dates back to Greek mythology and the story of Pandora and her box. According to Greek mythology Pandora was the first woman created by the gods and was given a gift, represented as Pandora's box. When she opened the vessel the evil spirits escaped to inflict pain and suffering throughout the world in the form of famine, disease, evil, torment and generally all things bad. One spirit remained and that is Elpis, otherwise known as 'hope'. One way to interpret the myth is hope was left behind to look after mankind, to give humanity...'hope'. Okay, on to the album.

The music is very much in the minimalist realm with mostly two or three musicians playing on each track. There is no guitar present, only viola, samples , treatments, Moog, kurzweil, Korg, loops and tympani. The feel is generally morose and quite brooding made especially so by the viola melodies. This is about as far from party music as one can get. The tracks do not vary greatly from one to the next as the moods and tempos are similar. My least favourite tracks are the most sparsely arranged like "Vanishment" and "Scintilla" where the avant-garde minimalism doesn't really appeal to me. The morose and brooding "Fog Of Fear" is similar in scope. On the other hand, the first track "Prologue" with its shimmering keys and fuller soundscape is more fetching to these ears. The music gets quite trippy and otherworldly on "Externalities" and pretty heavy on "Family Reunion" with the viola upping the intensity supplemented with a cool use of samples.

This is certainly not music that will hit you immediately, in fact, I am still unsure how I feel about this album. Lien is certainly a talented musician and the playing, composing and melodies are very good but the overall slowness and general melancholy has me feeling a bit indifferent. You, on the other hand may have a completely different reaction. If you do seek this one out a few spins will likely be warranted in order to fully appreciate the subtle nature of Lien's music.

Track Listing:
1. Prologue
2. Love Of Fate
3. Bitter Majesty
4. Vanishment
5. Fog Of Fear
6. Scintilla
7. The Escape
8. Horizon
9. Externalities
10. The Missing
11. Family Reunion
12. The Waltz

Added: February 4th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1139
Language: english

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