«a grain of Earth» is the first solo album of Polish, Amsterdam-based pianist-composer-improviser Marta Warelis. She relocated to the Netherlands in 2010 to pursue her musical studies and in 2014 she found her place in Amsterdam and quickly became part of the vibrant scene of free improvisers, and collaborated with Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Wilber de Joode, Andy Moor and John Dikeman and with Dave Douglas (on his recent «Secular Psalms», Greenleaf Music, 2022), and the local bands Xavier Pamplona and Bazooka.
The album «a grain of Earth» expresses Warelis’ fascinating sonic versatility and her aim for instant composing on the basis of new sounds and the timbral possibilities of the acoustic piano. The title suggests that we are a part of a big organism where everything goes endlessly bigger and smaller in the scale of size, time and speed; everything moves in constantly interfering waves of energy; echoing and reflecting, in a ceaseless dance of creation and destruction. It is a tiny journey from the earthly perspective, nothing but a grain of experience in full attention and total acceptance. The album was recorded at Splendor in Amsterdam in October 2021.
Warelis plays and employs the piano like a magic box, full of wonderous sounds and suggestive silences. She can enchant with a beautiful and innocent melody on «echoes», startle with unsettling sounds while mutating the piano strings with assorted objects on «(into) body in pieces», or improvise a jazz tune on «trip on the light toe» and sketch hymn-like melodies on «acceptance» and the title piece. She transforms the piano into an otherworldly, percussive string instrument on «minute creatures» with its fast and brief pizzicato plucking inside the piano, or an industrial drone machine on «invisible threads», and turns the piano into a highly resonating, twisted gamelan orchestra on «in waves». The last piece «ashes to sea» highlights, again, Warelis’ unique and poetic sonic imagination and her inspired and brilliant determination to expand the sonic horizons of the acoustic piano.
Marta Warelis (p)