Recordings of Note

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Onkalo

Julie Campiche, harp; Manu Hagmann, bass; Leo Fumagalli, saxophone; and Clemens Kuratle, drums. Meta Records, 2020.

In her album Onkalo, Swiss jazz harpist Julie Campiche and her eponymous quartet thrust us into a fast moving urgency after just a moment of calm. In response to environmental degradation and the 24-news cycle, Campiche contrasts acoustic with electronic in an entirely new musical vocabulary, all in an effort to put a finer point on her artistic message. Captured brilliantly in Flash Info, there’s a palpable yearning for order and peace. This is found in the mesmerizing duet with bassist Manu Hagmann Cradle Songs, with the addition of Leo Fumagalli’s soulful saxophone in a ravishing lament. Lepidoptera’s insistent, yet insouciant, rhythm, To The Holy Land’s jaw-droppingly opulent soundscape and the searching contemplation of Dastet Dard Nakoneh (thank you in Persian) are guaranteed to pull you out of the mundane and into another, far better, world.

detach

Angela Schwarzkopf, harp; Michelle Colton and Etienne Levesque, vibraphone. Redshift Records, 2019.

Canadian Harpist Angela Schwarzkopf has been fascinated by the music of her living Canadian peers since she began studying music, so much so that her parents commissioned a work for her as a graduation gift from music school. With support from the American Harp Society, the superb survey detach features a wide swath of new works including the haunting title work by Monica Pearce; an intensely fragrant, yet ominous Garden for harp and vibraphone (Michelle Colton) by Cecilia Livingston; Patrick Arteaga’s equally still and thought-provoking A Portrait of Tschamiu; the dreamy motif-spinning Contemplation by Mark Nerenberg; Elisha Denburg’s fascinating Sonatina for Vibraphone and Harp (Étienne Levesque) which opens our ears to an entirely new soundworld of resonance and sonority; and the exquisitely ephemeral Castles in the Sand by Kevin Lau.

Detach is a superbly executed album providing a multitude of ideas for creatives and performers alike.

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About Author

For the past 10 years, Alison Young has turned her highly trained ear towards the latest and greatest releases as Harp Column's records reviewer. A professional flutist and radio host, she enjoys discovering new music as well as familiar music played in new ways and sharing with readers her points of view in colorful and exacting descriptions. You can email her at alisonyoungdj@gmail.com.

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