BELA EMERSON: Hespera (Bip-Hop)


Posted on Jan 21st 2009 01:16 am

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Bela Emerson: Hespera

Bip-Hop Records 2008
10 Tracks. 48mins27secs

Bela Emerson is a Brighton-based experimental musician who has gained praises for her spellbinding live performances during which she improvises pieces on the electric cello, using conventional sounds combined with all sorts of additional noises, all sourced from her instrument, which are looped into intricate layers. Unlike Colleen, who has progressively moved toward more traditional musical forms as she has developed her use of acoustic instruments, Emerson continues to combine electro-acoustic and electronic sounds.

Hespera is Emerson’s fourth solo album, and her first for French imprint Bip-Hop. While her previous three records consisted of tracks recorded live during various performances, this latest offering is her first full studio collection. At once dense, complex and elegant, with streaks of cinematic grandeur and more experimental moments, Emerson’s music stimulates senses and emotions by juxtaposing contrasting elements to create a surprisingly homogenous entity. Great musicality is often thrown off course by arid noise nebulas, but this only adds to the fragile aspect of her compositions.

Carved through layers of sounds and noise, and articulated around swelling recurring melodies or delicate percussive or textural clusters, Emerson’s compositions often evolve from one realm to the next and accommodate various sequences in just a few minutes. The apparent chaotic nature of her work is offset by a great attention to details, from melodies that evolve almost imperceptibly to particularly refined motifs, found at the most unexpected moment. While the range explored here is quite wide, form the beautiful theme of 5HTP or the medieval tones of Cavaquin to the ethereal ribbons of Brandywine Shoal, the textures of Dangerous Friday or the menacing tones of Phosphorous, Hespera remains a very consistent collection throughout, making it a fine addition to the already excellent Bip-Hop catalogue.


Icon: arrow Bela Emerson | Bela Emerson (MySpace) | Bip-Hop

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