...subtly and (often quite beautifully) unique and a quietly compelling listen...
Peter Marsh 2006-12-07
Pianist Lola Perrin's music is hard to pin down. It's tricky to classify for one thing; which is not a problem for the listener perhaps, but a bit of a pain if you run a record shop (or write reviews for the BBC, come to think of it).
Perrin's inspirations lie seem to lie somewhere between the ecstacies of Keith Jarrett's early 70's solo improvisations and the delicate proto-minimalism of Cage's 'In A Landscape'; even Philip Glass's solo piano works come to mind. Consequently while her pieces are tightly constructed, she approaches playing them with the expressivity of an improviser, alive to the possibilities of the moment as well as the rigours of the score.
Her three suites on this album combine rippling ostinati with gentle accretions of melody or plangent chording. While reminiscent of Reich or Glass, Perrin's muse is less rigid and conceptual, more driven by instinct and emotion. At other times there are more conventional forces at work - "Early One Sunday Morning (pt 2)" and "Ripple" (from the 'Perpetual Motion' suite) both feature yearningly beautiful melodies and progressions that wouldn't be out of place in Gary Burton or Pat Metheny's songbooks. Which is not a bad thing.
While Perrin's music isn't likely to send Cecil Taylor of Bud Powell fans into ecstacies, it's tougher than you might think. It's her touch and (formidable restraint) as a player rather than her compositional skills that makes Fragile Light an album that is subtly and (often quite beautifully) unique and a quietly compelling listen. Recommended.