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Valerie Mih - Meridians


Valerie Mih

Available from iTunes.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

One of my favorite introspective keyboard CDs is Philip Glass' Solo PIano, and the opening to Valerie Mih's Meridians immediately brought that to mind, crossed with Mark Egan's more thoughtful work and a bit of Lyle Mays' background washes and tones for Pat Metheny. Mih favors serial patterns atop gestural matrices that prefer subtly enhancing the declensions, minor keys, and general pensive wistfulness of each cut. Her work is, in fact, a perfect midground between what New Age should be, modern chamber recital, and ambient.

Imbued with far more spirit than, say, Tim Story's output, cleaving closer to Wim Wenders' marvelous explorations in similar vein, Mih demonstrates a maturity in her work that requires discretion and an airily sculptural sense of nuance, especially in pieces like Interwoven with its latticed structure and polyrhythms progressing amid peripheral ornamentalia stretching portions of the composition into almost covertly intriguing territory. Certainly, the level of temperament and free-flowing sensuality ace Suzanne Ciani, Liz Story, and the women who could never shake all that overt commerciality out of their tunesmithing.

The choice of occasional accordion is almost strange, especially in Saturn's Rings, like Ennio Morricone meets Eleni Karaindrou with a smidge of Astor Piazzola in his cups. The instrument broadens Meridians palette appreciably, endowing a more ECM-ish flavor to the collection. The predominant vibe, though, is meditative, and the closing cut, Circular Dreaming is almost like a denouement into the kind of sparse end-of-Fall feel that Ralph Towner hit with Oregon every so often.

Track List:

  • Meridians
  • Flow
  • Little One
  • Interwoven
  • Reflections
  • Saturn's Rings
  • Sacred Sound
  • Autumn
  • Circular Dreaming
All songs written by Valerie Mih.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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