Christina Vantzou – No. 4

The Brussels-based artist follows up three albums of ambient excellence with a collection of beautiful impressionist sketches

Album Review by Finbarr Bermingham | 03 Apr 2018
  • Christina Vantzou
Album title: No. 4
Artist: Christina Vantzou
Label: Kranky
Release date: 6 Apr

Ambient music is often, more than most genres, made to be completely subjective. Without lyrics to guide the listener, the music can be entirely interpretable, which is why it’s often so difficult to convey its beauty. It is, as they say, in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. Such has been the case on the three superb albums Christina Vantzou has released on Kranky (as well as previous material as part of The Dead Texan).

The latest in her canon, No. 4, isn’t a great leap stylistically: this is beautifully nebulous and otherworldly music. However, there is a more literal element here than previously heard. Each of the tracks can be viewed as impressionistic thumbnail sketches on a theme. Close your eyes and listen to album opener Glissando for Bodies and Machines in Space, and hear the ebb and flow of the universe around your being: this is the sound of being lost in space. Some Limited and Waning Memory is a standout track. Swirls of piano and soaring choral bursts lead to a simple melody, a snippet of your past ghosting evasively around your mind, a moment you can’t place or a thought you can’t quite put your finger on, then it disappears. Did it ever exist? Does it even matter?

These little monographs are masterpieces in their own right – they are thought-provoking and cleverly composed. Consider this a guided listen that continues on the brilliant path of its predecessors.

Listen to: Some Limited and Waning Memory