Personnel: Berd Sandner (piano).
Recording information: Audiocue Berlin.
Arranger: Delia Gonzalez.
A work nearly five years in its evolution, In Remembrance is Delia Gonzalez's first major project since she ended her collaboration with Gavin Russom to focus on her fine art career. Beginning as a set of 16mm films of ballet dancers accompanied by solo piano compositions, Gonzalez found inspiration for the piece in inspiration itself: In Remembrance celebrates the creative spark and clarity that make art possible in its hypnotic music and visuals. Her four piano pieces were influenced by spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff, who theorized that "to play scales is to become more in tune with your inner self." While there's nothing quite as rudimentary as do-re-mi here, Gonzalez uses simple, often flowing motifs in sophisticated ways that feel like she's channeling something pure. She finds plenty of range within In Remembrance's seeming limitations, contrasting the leaping intervals of "II" with "III"'s more tender, elongated melody and bookending the work with its extremes: the blunt, somber "IV" is the polar opposite of "I"'s circular motif. On moments like this, the way she plays with repetition and variation evokes her work with Russom, particularly on their acclaimed album Days of Mars, though her piano is largely unadorned. On In Remembrance's second half, Gonzalez takes her music from the stage to the dancefloor in ways that might feel more familiar to fans of her previous music with the help of producer Bryce Hackford. His remixes might be even more atmospheric than the originals; though they're more percussive -- especially on the rubbery "Remix II" -- his experiments with the piano's overtones and dynamics complement Gonzalez's compositions. He does this most strikingly on "Remix III," turning the original's gentle curves into something more insistent but also more delicate as its four-on-the floor beat counterbalances a twinkling, slightly manic melody. In Remembrance might be best experienced as a whole (the CD version includes a DVD of the films), since the way the dancers reflect and intertwine with each other's movements reveals the music's full power. Nevertheless, In Remembrance is one of the finest expressions of her fine art-meets-pop duality yet. Though its title sounds like the closing of a chapter, the project feels like the beginning of a new one for Gonzalez. ~ Heather Phares