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Lola Perrin: Fragile Light

John Eyles By

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Lola Perrin's second album expands on the success of her debut, Perpetual Motion (Blue Planet, 2004), incorporating its Perpetual Motion Piano Suite III, plus two other suites. That use of "suites may suggest that Perrin's music has affinities with classical piano music, and indeed she has drawn comparisons with Schubert, Debussy and Ravel—comparisons which she gladly accepts—although I find Perpetual Motion most reminiscent of Erik Satie. But that is not the whole story; there are also close affinities with the minimalism of Michael Nyman or Steve Reich, Brian Eno's ambient music, or chamber jazz players such as Keith Jarrett.

However, most of all, Perrin's music is her own and she avoids any of the above labels by calling it "rave music for butterflies, which effectively conjures up its mood of tranquillity, combined with its affecting melodies and rhythms. It is music that tends to command attention. Recently when she played the last night of the London Jazz Festival to a crowded venue (Spitz, with a bar at the back, not noted for its silent, attentive audiences) she held the crowd spellbound and mesmerised.

In concert, Perrin's playing is often accompanied by short films by the likes of Thomas Gray or Roberto Battista, and the sleeve of this CD carries still images from some of them. However, the music is not reliant on the visuals, and it's quite strong enough to stand alone. Perrin's compositions are often inspired by visual art; she was stimulated to write her Early One Sunday Morning Piano Suite by Edward Hopper's 1930 painting Early Sunday Morning of low sunlight on a row of shopfronts; the suite replicates the painting's mood of expectation, maybe even foreboding.

The longest track here, one of two that are not parts of a suite, is "Barcelona: For Six Pianos. It is ambitious in its conception, and the multitracked piano parts combine effectively to yield a piece that will definitely appeal to lovers of minimalism.


Track Listing: Music from Fragile Light Spaces Piano Suite IV 2005: Newark Airport 1-6, Cloud Sky Fade; To a wild rose; Early One Sunday Morning Piano Suite I 1992: Early One Sunday Morning 1-7; Barcelona: For six pianos 1999; Perpetual Motion Piano Suite III 2003: Whole numbers, Perpetual motion, Unravelling, Pulse, Island, Ripple, Butterflies.

Personnel: Lola Perrin: piano.

Title: Fragile Light | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: World Quarter Music

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