An inspired and inspiring work hitting that that rare cerebral and visceral middle ground. As whimsical as it is eclectic, Aqualude is a magnificent harmonic adventure!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I had been reviewing improvisational music for several years before diagnosed with advanced liver disease. Upon receiving my diagnosis, I went on a musical quest for new and different sounds and with that a focus on presentation and execution. Dana Lyn's Aqualude may be just the sound I was looking for. An undulating current of movement flows throughout this release with the presentation as varied as the under sea world Lyn attempts to capture.
So who is Dana Lyn? A prolific Brooklyn-based violinist, pianist and composer whose diverse background and talent have seen her work with artists ranging from Loudon Wainwright III and Florence and The Machine. Small screen appearance for Dana include Saturday Night Live and Conan O'Brien. Most recently Lyn played a key role with Ethan Hawke's off Broadway production - Clive. I say this not to write a bio but to paint a small portrait of an artist that is a cultural by product of her own experience. This varied and somewhat eclectic harmonic DNA comes to fruition in Aqualude as a shade of stylistic grey moving effortlessly from improvisational music with a new classical presentation of an indie rock vibe with percussive intensity. Aqualude is indeed a project as diverse and intricate as the life under the sea that she attempts to capture with her compositions.
Aqualude has the potential to be over analyzed which would be an immense critical mistake. These are not mere "tunes" but are sonic visions from the imagination. The evocative cover art may be the perfect visual description of the sound itself. The ensemble cast is made up of a wide ranging musicians and includes some Big Apple jazz fixtures in Mike McGinnis on clarinet and bass clarinet and Vinnie Sperrazza on drums. Rounding out the cast we have Surface to Air guitarist Jonathan Goldberg and genre defying cellist Clara Kennedy.
This is a cutting edge recording, a release that does not roll with convention but instead redefines the form and function of not just improvisational music but music as an entity unto itself.
This is art. Art like love is difficult to describe but you know it when it happens. As a continue my sonic road trip I will certainly pack Aqualude for the trip, you should too.
Photo by Michael Weintrob
There are three tracks on the record called ‘aqualudes;’ those tracks were played on a beautiful instrument invented by Shelby and Latham Gaines for the recent New Group production of Clive. It is called the Angel Door, and here is a picture of it.