Christina Vantzou - No. 4

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-04-06
Christina Vantzou - No. 4
Christina Vantzou - No. 4

Belgian composer/artist Christina Vantzou is something of an archetypal performer found on the cult-ish Kranky label. So far, all her previous solo albums (if you don’t know, you might guess the titles are numbered) and as a member of the duo The Dead Texan (with Adam Wiltzie of Stars of The Lid) bear what you could label as the “Kranky sound of excellence” - music that defies categorisation and bordering on ambient, post-rock, classical or jazz. And it doesn’t matter whether it's vocal (Low made some of their best albums for the label) or instrumental (the brilliant Labradford).

This excellence is connected with practically everybody on the label, and Vantzou’s latest release No. 4 is just a confirmation of that which extends to her personal musical vision, which she is able to present to her listeners. If I had to insist on giving this album a more specific name instead of a number, I would personally go with "Ghost Visions." Now, "Ghost Visions" certainly invokes something dark and sinister, and you can find plenty of that on No. 4, like the introductory “Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space”, but that can be also something gentle, friendly and alluring like the musical vignette “Percussion in Nonspace”.

When you call something the sound of excellence it is a lofty goal to keep, and so far, Vantzou has not yet gone below that, including this new album. You can certainly label Vantzou an expert at musical imagery and mood because that is exactly what she creates on No. 4. What she manages is not only to present her own vision and images but to also leave the listener enough space to connect to them and to draw their own visions and images out of her music. That is probably one of the hardest things to do.

From the brief musical images of “At Dawn” and “Lava”  to more complex presentations like “Doorway” and the closing “Remote Polyphony” Vantzou is able to present her musical ghosts in the best possible manner and make them the listener’s ghosts at the same time. A great achievement in itself.

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