3

Linda May Han Oh: Walk Against Wind

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Linda May Han Oh: Walk Against Wind On the exquisite Walk Against Wind bassist Linda May Han Oh showcases her unique compositional style that rivals, artistically, her mastery over her instrument and her improvisational prowess. These 11 originals express various motifs reflecting Oh's diverse influences yet a delightfully dark poetry imbues all of them, giving the album its thematic unity.

The intensely cinematic "Speech Impediment," for instance, has a languid melody and shimmering refrains. Oh's Lilting, wordless vocals echo saxophonist Ben Wendel wistful lines. As the tempo picks up the tune becomes crisper and more hypnotic. Wendel and guitarist Matthew Stevens exchange thrillingly dissonant lines over drummer Justin Brown's thunderous beats and Oh's thumping bass. Brown's dynamic solo ushers in the concluding head.

Brown opens the atmospheric "Ikan Bilis" with his haunting drumming that endows the music with a primal spirituality. Pianist Fabian Almazan makes a guest appearance as he and the other band members contribute their respective introspective musings. The individual instrumental voices coalesce into a mystical and memorable ensemble performance that has an undercurrent of subtle funky rhythms. Almazan's chiming keys and Stevens' resonant notes mix in with Oh and Brown's percolating cadence to buoy Wendel's warmly wailing tenor.

Another guest, Korean traditional percussionist Minji Park, adds an Eastern touch to the expectant "Mantis" with her exotic janggu & kkwaenggwari. Oh takes center stage with complex and lyrical extemporization that is intriguingly crepuscular. Wendel's yearning, fiery phrases thrillingly contrast with the contemplative serenity of the rest of the track.

The pensive and dramatic "Deepsea Dancers" demonstrates Western Classical hints especially in the melodic fragments that are its building blocks. Stevens and Wendel alternate eloquent spontaneous monologues that are sometimes stimulatingly angular and at others elegantly fluid. Oh's muscular reverberations and Brown's soft thuds and brushing add an element of tension to the overall mood.

Walking Against Wind is a mature work that perfectly balances different musical elements. The prewritten and the spontaneously created seamlessly meld and miscellaneous inspirations fuse into a singular and sublime whole. It is Oh's best release to date and, hopefully, a sign of what is to come next.

Track Listing: Lucid Lullaby; Firedancer; Speech Impediment; Perpluzzle; Walk Against Wind; Ikan Bilis; Mother Reason; Mantis; Deepsea Dancers; Midnight; Western.

Personnel: Linda May Han Oh: bass, voice; Ben Wendel: saxophone; Matthew Stevens: guitar; Justin Brown:drums; Fabian Almazan: piano (2, 6, 10); Minji Park: janggu & kkwaenggwari (8).

Title: Walk Against Wind | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Biophilia Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Do For You?" CD/LP/Track Review Do For You?
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Small Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Small Pieces
by James Nadal
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Avenida Graham" CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Troy Collins
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) / Silver Linings / Take Me / Rollin' With The Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) / Silver Linings /...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 1, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.