Vantzou, a native of Kansas City who's lived in Brussels, Belgium, since 2003, made her first record as half of the Dead Texan with Adam Wiltzie (of Stars of the Lid fame), and in 2007 she toured as a member of Sparklehorse. Not long after, she started work on her solo debut, No. 1 (Kranky), but it took her more than three years to finish, and it didn't come out till late 2011—the sumptuous detail in the beautiful recording certainly sounds like the result of a labor-intensive process (she also works as a filmmaker and visual artist, which further explains the delay). Vantzou's synthesizer parts are extravagantly enhanced by a string quartet and muted yet lyrical French horn, flute, and clarinet. The ten-part suite alternates between lush, hypnotic drones and meticulously scored, contrapuntal melodic filigree, shifting seamlessly from mood to mood and texture to texture. The music feels cinematic in its drift from ambient placidity to gently surging motion, and despite the gorgeousness of the melodic fragments, the album is best experienced as a whole, for a cumulative effect. On Wednesday Vantzou will be joined a string quartet, and I'm more than curious to see how they'll fill the space with sound—I'm also hopeful that the audience will give the music the quiet attention it deserves. Below you can hear the suite's opening piece, "Homemade Mountains."
Christina Vantzou photo: Julie Calbert
R. Stevie Moore photo: Max Janoff
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