American, Washington DC-based cellist-composer Janel Leppin, is known for her ongoing collaboration with her husband, guitarist Anthony Pirog, including in the experimental duo Janel & Anthony, her own Ensemble Volcanic Ash and her solo work under the moniker Mellow Diamond. The Brink is Leppin’s solo album that exposes and interrogates the relationship with the instrument that has been at the center of her productive life for 35 years now.
Leppin compares the process of playing and recording the album to a marathon run as it demands physical and emotional steadfastness but also allows an opportunity to transform her approach to the cello. The eight concise pieces of The Brink ask Leppin old questions, and Leppin mentions that the recording evoked «many visual associations with the fairy realm – a delight in nature that we can’t always see», and, indeed, the titles of the pieces intensify this perspective.
Despite its title, and its release into a world that has found new ways to stagger even closer toward the point of no return, as Leppin puts it, the atmosphere of The Brink is mysterious and dream-like, life-affirming and optimistic. Leppin knows how to match her experimental tendencies with minimalist, emotional melodies and offer highly immersive soundscapes.
The title references The Brink Analog and Digital Recording Studios where Leppin has had a very fruitful 15-year relationship with its owner, recording, mixing and mastering technician and producer of the album Mike Reina, who also took the photo of Leppin.
Janel Leppin (cello)