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Heirloom is the first solo piano recording of Swedish, Stockholm-based pianist-composer Lisa Ullén to appear on vinyl (Ullén released a 3-disc album of solo piano, Piano Works, on her label Disorder, 2018). The new album exploits the two-sided nature of the physical format with two variations of the same three-part suite, recorded in two days at Fylkingen in Stockholm in June 2023. Heirloom is released in a limited edition of 300 clear vinyl plus a download option. The cover photo artwork by Helena Byström is of a small box of the possessions Ullén brought with her from South Korea to Sweden as a young adoptee.

The division into two sides reflects Ullén’s musical personality and practice in the last three decades. «I make music that does not really belong to any known genre, but sifts between, through and outside various idioms — jazz, new music, and more — until a distinct genre nevertheless emerges», Ullén says. «This is music that stems from an experience of not really belonging to anything, of being in between identities and traditions; music that makes use of melodic and rhythmical fragments but refuses to settle within expressions that already exist, and instead lets the music have several layers where different textures and rhythms pass through each other».

The two, three-movement suites capture beautifully Ullén’s impeccable and unconventional command and techniques, including preparations and playing inside the piano, but most of all radiate Ullén’s rich, adventurous and idiosyncratic musical imagination. Ullén patiently sketches captivating and untimely, emotional melodies and more abstract and vulnerable soundscapes («After Sun») that resonate intimate but quite dramatic stories, images and fragrances from her magical heirloom that linger long after Heirloom is over.

A most beautiful and moving album.

Eyal Hareuveni

Lisa Ullén (piano)