EP Review: Léah Lazonick – “Movimenti della Luna d’Oro”

All it takes is 12 minutes to wow us.

With a sense of movement falling somewhere between the piano phrasings of Cage (thinking The Seasons, from ‘47) and Glass’ more emotionally driven Metamorphosis, Brooklyn-based composer Léah Lazonick offers us the beautific Movimenti della Luna d’Oro, translation: Movements of the Moon of Gold, a chamber suite in three parts now available on Francis Harris’ Kingdoms label. And it’s a singular accomplishment, if only for the fact that Lazonick unwinds her work in a bare sliver of time – offering slight but resonant piano etudes fleshed out with a small string section. It’s uncluttered and pure, and, on tracks like melancholy waltz “Movimento II Mezza Luna,” it positively radiates.

This is modern classical in a pretty straight-forward sense; though Lazonick’s work sometimes calls to mind fellow American pianist/composer Rachel Grimes, there’s little trace here of the post-rock-laced atmospheres of, say, Jóhann Jóhannsson. But there are moments where Lazonick’s flights on piano, her too-infrequent departures from providing structure, hint at the jazz leanings of Art Tatum or even Joplin, if only in their buoyancy. It turns out that, when she wanders from the path, she is at her finest. In fact, it’s hard to imagine –  though Lazonick is adept at framing short films with scores – that she can unfurl a piece as cinematic as “Movimento III Luna Piena” in less than four minutes. Intense stuff.

Though the first half of the EP offers few lulls, I could’ve done without the go-nowhere, 13-minute-long remix from Romanian producer Petre Inspirescu. That said, all in all, it’s a minor mis-step and the EP remains a shimmery-sweet little morsel worth tracking down, 12 minutes of chamber bliss.