Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Artist: Eleonore Oppenheim
Title: Home
Format: CD
Label: Innova (@)
Rated: *****
Bassist Eleonore Oppenheim has already worked with a variety of artists and groups, including the Philip Glass Ensemble, Norah Jones, Bryce Dessner of the National, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Steve Reich, and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. This is her debut solo album, and the label describes this disc as “a musical core sample in which each track represents a different approach to the double bass as a modern solo instrument, and to the ways in which it can interact with electronic media. By turns glitchy and pure, gritty and shimmering, Home releases the bass from its traditional obligations and takes the listener on a surprising, unfettered journey through several strata of sound which explore the breadth of the instrument’s emotional and physical range.” Sounds promising, so let’s delve into the music. “La Isla Mágica” opens the disc with staccato strings mixed with quick runs down the keyboard, which then shifts to slow pulls on the strings. There is a lot going on here, and this is complex with a whimsical quality to it. Next up, “Crocodile” mixes strings and female spoken word (in French?) along with incidental noises that makes it sound like you are overhearing a conversation at someone’s kitchen table. Later on, it shifts to a bass line with clapping sounds, before returning to the spoken word and field recording. “Heavy Beating” lives up to its name, as it begins with pounding and occasional strings. As a percussionist, I enjoyed this track immensely. Although the track is a bit more minimal, the rhythms are interesting and there is a skillful use of silence. The composition eventually descends into feedback and strings. Home is a slow-moving piece with a lot of tension and good use of dynamics. This slowly accelerates like a train under load, as the strings become increasingly frantic, with the musicians sawing away on the strings. Well done. Finally, we have “Home (Lorna Dune Remix),” which is like night and day from the previous incarnation. If Home chronicles the perilous journey, this is the joyful reunion of friends and family. Although this is the album of a bassist, this is not merely for those who appreciate the low end of sound. These are excellent compositions that would appeal to most who like finely crafted music. There is just enough dissonance and harshness to keep the Chain DLK crowd happy as well. This album weighs in at around 37 minutes.


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