Christina Vantzou - NO. 1 (Kranky)

An artist and filmmaker as well as a musician, Christina Vantzou has swapped the US for Europe, living in Brussels since 2003. But she's kept in touch with her homeland via collaborations with compatriots including Sparklehorse, The Dead Texan and Stars Of The Lid.

Released Dec 8th, 2011 via Kranky / By Norman Miller
Christina Vantzou - NO. 1 (Kranky) This solo debut is the result of three years work, and though it echoes former cohorts – particular Stars Of The Lid – Vantzou ploughs her own furrow between neo-classicism (layered strings, wind and brass) and drone. And while there may not seem much difference in mood or tempo over the ten tracks each draws on its own little intricacies.

'Small Choir' stands out with its gorgeous amalgam of wind and strings, riven with uplifting melody. Similar melodic strength marks the opening 'Homemade Mountains' with its echoes of Sylvain Chauveau. Chillier touches distinguish 'Prelude For Juan' with almost industrial niggles deep in the mix, while 'Your Changes Have Been Submitted' buries twittery wildlife sounds within a stately sonic sweep.

There's a beautiful melancholy to 'Super Interlude pt. 1 & 2' – the brass on the first creating a brief requiem for a fallen hero, while deeply sonorous cellos slowly lift spirits on the latter. '11:11' evokes a similar mood, its heraldic horns slowed down and swadded in glacial synth. Joggers also uses horns to potent effect in a middle section mixed with strings, an underlay of distant voices and an overlay of organ.

This is music of small changes – but fans of ambient classicism and drone won't feel short changed.