By Kira Grunenberg | Published August 2021
Conceptually speaking, the new album by pianist, composer and vocalist Lauren Lee diverges from being reactionary music made during the pandemic. That said, the fact that the album comes to reflect Lee’s every feeling during the height of lockdown, anyway, is a testament to, and a reminder of, just how significantly music is altered and shaped by inner experiences, whether consciously acknowledged or not.
Opening track “Cogitation” introduces Queen Of Cups with a very sonically transparent aesthetic. Though it’s clear from the outset that the album won’t be instrumentally dense, the music offers pleasantly surprising openness by way of natural production values and the melodic liberties of Lee’s scat vocals. The piano tone chases neither vintage quality, nor an overly polished concert hall timbre. Close-miking leaves Lee’s vocals, and piano, sounding pseudo-live, if you will.
Additional tracks like Pat Metheny’s “Unity Village” and “Mad House” evoke a similar quality. Still, the record isn’t without artistic expanse or sonic creativity. The closing track “Cocoon” exercises the most individuality. Lingering reverb and delay end Queen Of Cups on an ethereal and highly modern note.
Queen Of Cups: Cogitation; Up In The Air; Mad House; If I Should Lose You; Another Reality; Unity Village; I Should Care; Boxes; Footprints; Cocoon. (49:08)
Personnel: Lauren Lee, vocals, piano, keyboards.
Ordering Info: earsandeyesrecords.com