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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Elis Hallik - Born In Waves [Kairos Music - 2024]

Born In Waves is the debut album from this Estonia-born modern classical composer  It’s a nine-track affair, which highlights the composer's ability to create compelling work that seesaws between discord & harmony, tautness & flow, and sourness & sweetness.

The CD release appears on Austria’s Kairos. It’s presented in the labels house style digipak- with a forty-page glossy inlay booklet stuck into one side of it. This takes in English & German texts, as well as a few colour pictures of Ms Hallik. So, another classily presented modern Classical release from Kairos.

Elis Hallik was born in the year 1986. And has been creating work since the early 2010s- with her compositions being performed by renowned ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, such as Ensemble Musikfabrik (Clement Power), Ensemble Mosaik (Enno Poppe), Ensemble Synaesthesis, L’Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France (Pierre-André Valade), and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (Neeme Järvi, Olari Elts, Baldur Brönnimann).

The nine pieces on the disc date from between 2015 and 2022- with runtimes between four and ten minutes, with a generous CD runtime of just shy of the seventy-eight-minute mark. As mentioned in my introduction a good selection of types of tracks/ players involved - making for a rewarding & varied listen throughout

We open with “ Some Paths Will Always Lead Through The Shadows” which is played here by Ensemble Synaesthesis. It brings together cascading piano, with two violins, bass flute, viola & cello. With the ornate-to-busy piano weaved with sudden bounds & dense gatherings of string & horn work. The pieces sits somewhere between beauty & sad wonder,  and malevolent disorientation- really a breathtaking opening track.

Moving on through the disc we have “To Become A Tree”- this is for bass flute, bass clarinet. Prepared piano, violin and cello curtsey of Ensemble Fractales. It’s a wonderful tense & haunting piece, with great use of building and receding tone- moving from faint ghostly simmers meets more manic string work, through to hellish rattling ‘n’ billowings, onto eerier taps, creaks, and sudden slices.
 
Later on, we have “Touching The First Sounds”- it’s for alto sax and ensemble. It's built around a series of spiral builds and climbs, which sit between the swirling, eerily foreboding, and pipingly regal(if still uneasy). The album plays out with “Above” which is played by the ensemble U, and is all about slowly sweeping & glowing tones. Bringing to mind walking through drifting fog, trying to define shape & sense. It’s a mournful/ subtly simmering conclusion to the release.

Born In Waves is a wonderfully realized & wholly captivating debut album, and I’ll certainly be keeping a look out for future work from Ms Hallik.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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