Arctic Sunrise opens in a grandeur of melancholy carefully paced and classically composed, patient and observant. Pianist Kerani found herself not only captured by the austere beauty of that far desolate region but also by the spirit and bravery of explorers Knud Rasmussen, Roald Amundsen, and Col. Robert Falcon Scott, the last of whom, along with his crew of four, perished in the unbelievably harsh conditions of one of the last true wildernesses on Earth. Sometimes, sad to say, you pay the price to experience unimaginable beauty and sate your wanderlust, and what comprises a hero isn't always found in conflict and the madness of war but in rigors taken on voluntarily for the sake of knowledge and experience.
This is Kerani's third CD cycle of opuses, and it readily demonstrates why she has gone over exceedingly well, especially in Northern Europe. Every note here is well considered, exquisitely played, and perfectly augmentive of the entire aesthetic. In embarking upon this marvelous work, she did her research not only on the explorers but also the Inuit people, who live in darkness a full half year until the advent of the Arctic Sunrise the disc is titled after. Thus, there's an intensely spiritual essence to everything here—note, though, that I did not say 'religious' but rather am referring, as the keyboard player is, to the wonder of Nature itself, to the mysteries it infers, confers, and endows. Kerani drew musical influence not only from the esteemed Vangelis but many others and, as Far Away from Home arises, even the Impressionists and their offspring are headily invoked.
Many aspects, though, are entirely hers, in a sublime intelligence and quiet vitality too often missing from music of this oft New Agey ilk, qualities tangibly felt as the movements wend their way toward a final destination. Like a fine novelist, Kerani takes care and time to paint the environments in their colors and personalities. Deep resonances are both apparent, especially in the disc's opening, and connoted but never absent. Like I said, every single note rings true, Norway redolant of that, and the result, in each of the eight selections, is as of the unfolding of a hologram. A quintet of accompanists (cello, flute, horn, guitar, violin), as well as angelic choirs (Kerani, dubbed) flesh out the panoramas alongside the keyboards so that the austere organic entablature never fails to lose its topographies or dimensions, always tilting into seductive geometry beneath flowing tints, fogs, and lightplay.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles