Earlier this year I discovered the musical work of Jane Antonia Cornish and wrote about how I instantly fell in love with it – so imagine my excitement when I received a notification from Bandcamp, announcing a new album, “Seascapes.”
Quite unexpectedly, Jane Antonia Cornish contacted me directly and gave me the opportunity to preview the new album in its entirety (it will be released on August 2nd and is available for pre-order on Bandcamp right now), so I was already able to give it a good number of listens to write up this blog post. Some of these listens were thorough, some were casual – some extremely focused with headphones, some relaxed as background while I was working on my photographs.
The haunting melancholy of the sparse piano melody in the first track made me feel right at home, but the most intriguing aspect of a “themed” album like this is to me how it, through sound, either conjures up images in the mind, or fires up the imagination, with the question what a certain sound or sequence could perhaps represent, with regards to the theme – and then perhaps require us to stretch our imagination, beyond what we’d readily associate with this theme.
Each repeated listen to “Seascapes” evoked new imagery: some sounds and sequences had me dive beneath the ocean’s surface with my mind, where I found fitting associations to the sound imagining shafts of light that paint random patterns into the water as they disappear into the depth before they ultimately get swallowed by deep darkness. On another listen it occurred to me that I should perhaps also consider times of day into the imaginary sonic imagery: a seascape at dawn or dusk, during the day, at night. Take the low, almost rumbling piano in Seascapes III: it feels like a ground swell from the bottom of the ocean. But these are just my images, of course.
The album combines string orchestra, piano and electronics. I’m very fond of strings in general, and on “Seascapes”, the piano counters them with pearly notes and gentle phrases. In the strings though, I think I recognize an overarching element through the individual tracks: their rise and fall, is to me the musical equivalent of gentle, long amplitude waves at sea, rolling slowly, with a steady rhythm – a sound that could very well inspire a meditational breathing exercise.
“Seascapes” continues the fine work of Cornish’s previous albums with their calm, peaceful and sometimes melancholic atmospheres. I only wish I would’ve been able to attend its premiere at the 2019 Chelsea Music Festival Opening Gala, but alas, that was on a different coast…
Favorite tracks: Seascapes III, Drift, Seascapes Epilogue.