Lullabies for Grownups: The Moon
By Kate Kohler
Piano Music For/Kate Kohler (2009) 65:00 minutes
Review by Kate Russell
Kate Kohler’s ‘Lullabies for Grownups’ ‘The Moon’ CD is the newest of three in her Lullabies for Grownups Series. A singer and pianist with a few albums to her name, this latest piano-only offering of moon inspired compositions offers some gentle, thought-provoking tracks for the after dark hours.
On first listen, I found the CD to get off to a slow start; the transition between the first track (Mare Serenitatis) and the second track (Lacus Somniorum) was a little too subtle for me. Maybe it was because I was listening to this album in the harsh light of day, as opposed to before bedtime – regadless, I just longed for a little more action to kick off the album. This wish was granted in the well-crafted drama of track three, Mare Imbrium: the contrast of imaginative runs and striking, solemn chords creating a stirring and compelling piece that feels like a grand entrance to understanding Kohler’s mysterious compositions.
Following on, Mare Nubium pulls the listener once again into the same simple wistfulness of the first two tracks, but with further development and musical surprises – running at points into stellar-like high notes, which give the flow of the piece an added ‘sparkle’. Palus Somni is reminiscent of a slowly winding-down trinket box in its paused and purposeful presentation and along with the cerebral dreaminess of Lacus Gaudii, these two tracks in their slow-movement inspire the listener to take a closer listen to the music.
Back down to earth again with Oceanus Procellarum and its grounding, echoing chords and melody. My favourite of Kate’s pieces are the ones where she builds drama, and this track, along with her third, were definite stand-out points from the album from an initial listening standpoint.
The final two tracks, Mare Tranquillitatis and Sinus Concordiae finish the album with more of her characteristic music-box style melodies, but at a louder volume, continuing the grounding theme from Oceanus Procellarum.
A little bit of trivia – the unique sounding track titles from the album refer to actual areas of the moon, something I did not think to find out about until listening to the album a few times. Looking into these lunar locations will certainly help you gain a deeper appreciation and empathy with the music, track by track. All in all, this is a mysterious and surprising album which will continue to reveal itself to you on subsequent listens and would be a pleasant accompaniment to creative projects or bodywork and relaxation activities. This is not an album for instant gratification, but for those of you who have the time and desire for contemplatative listening, you will be rewarded with a new listening experience each time.
Like staring at the night sky to see how many stars you can see – the longer you are prepared to look, the more beauty and intrigue you will find in this album.
Kate Russell is a singer/songwriter and busker from Vancouver, up until recently performing under the stage name Jadis Gloom (www.myspace.com/jadisgloom). Currently she is taking some time out from her solo music projects to write, listen to other styles of music and gain inspiration from other artists and their own creative journeys. Believing that to look into someone’s art is also to look inside their soul, she enjoys the intimate opportunities for understanding others in new ways that being a music critic provides.