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SONJA LABIANCA

«About Room, Room to Be, Rooms»
EGET VÆRELSE EV 08 SLB01

Danish alto sax player Sonja LaBianca debut solo album explores a whole together new sonic terrains than the urgent, electrifying ones she have visited before with her groups Selvhenter or Valby Vokalgruppe. LaBianca chose to suggest on «About Room, Room to Be, Rooms» a series of poetic, minimalist soundscapes. The title of the album corresponds with the label-female musicians collective Eget Værelse name, in its own turn referencing Virginia Wolf’s influential feminist essay «A Room of One’s Own».

Side A of this album was produced by Aske Zidore, who recorded and produced Selvhenter last studio album, «Motion of Large Bodies» (Eget Værelse, 2014). Side B was produced by Andreas Pallisgaard, who mastered «Motion of Large Bodies» and recorded and produced Selvhenter’s drummer Jaleh Negari recent solo album, «Arch Waves» (Eget Værelse, 2016). Both producers are known for their distinct recording strategies. «About Room, Room to Be, Rooms» was recorded on different locations – bell tower, silo and a garage.

Side A focuses on intimate, lonely rooms-spaces. LaBianca repetitive and beautiful themes have a unique, peaceful quality. Alone, patiently and gently she develops these fragile, minimalist melodies as hypnotic soundscapes that offer an out-of-time experiences, despite the random flow of neighboring, environmental sounds. «Bells» and «The Crane» linger long in mind after listening to these haunting, moving pieces.

Side B varies the atmosphere with other rooms-space and musicians, deepening the sense of a scenographic journey. «Gong», with Negari on percussion, sounds like an engaging dance informed by Balinese gamelan music. On «Marguerite» and «Frieze» LaBianca explores the sound and timbre of the alto sax in and as affected by different resonating spaces, each with its own qualities. «For Asger», with tenor sax player Asger Hartvig, is a short song that merges LaBianca and Hartvig repetitive-melodic phrases into a catchy theme. «The Late Aubade» with cellist Cæcilie Trier, who played with LaBianca in the group Choir of Young Believers, sound like a structured classical piece. Still, LaBianca and Trier interact not only with each other but also with another echoing space.

Deeply beautiful, deeply moving.

Eyal Hareuveni

Sonja LaBianca (as, p), Asger Hartvig (ts), Jaleh Negari (perc), Cæcilie Trier (c)