Stella Polaris Recordings (label)
07 April 2014 (released)
07 April 2014
Emotive and at times poignant, this collection of instrumental pieces from the multi-talented musician and composer Liz Chi Yen Liew (who has collaborated with the likes of Moby, Gnarls Barkley and Asian Dub Foundation) takes the listener on an aural journey through personal moments in her life - childhood memories, first love, the birth of her first daughter and the sudden death of her father.
Originally written as a live dance show, these extended pieces find a new identity without the visuals. Augmenting Liew's classical piano compositions, and bringing in a subtle emphasis towards Liew's Chinese heritage, is Dennis Kwong Thye Lee with performances on the traditional Chinese guzheng (zither) and xiao (flute)
As is oft with music (especially instrumentals) there is room for interpretation, and when I sat first listening to this album, gazing out on a spring morning - sun dappled trees and slowly falling blossom - Liew's compositions brought a sense of richness and purpose. Now with April showers, the more poignant moments cut through.
Hence, Liew has created a vulnerable and beautiful collection of music that works both with and without dance, conjuring its own subjective imagery. But there are also moments that suggest that some pieces could be further developed lyrically - that this project could yet be taken further, thus underlining Liew's adept composing abilities.
Considering her talents, there is a sense of expectation as to what future collaborations will produce.