[sic] Magazine

Elisa Luu – Chromatic Sigh

Elisabetta Luciani is a Rome-based composer who records under the diminutive Elisa Luu. She uses self-played samples of instruments such as guitar, flute, saxophone and electric piano, manipulating and moulding them into a warm and organic sounding electronica. Chromatic Sigh is her first album following an EP release for Phantom Channel.

The record is consistent in tone and mood, but varied in instrumentation and structure. The prevalent air is slightly downbeat, but at the same time not down. Much of the music is beatless, but there is always too much going on for this to be described as ambient music. Sometimes the instruments are clearly defined and easily identifiable. Just as often, though, they are manipulated beyond recognition. Some of the pieces seem conventionally composed, whilst others have the ring of improvisation, but never aimlessly so. Indeed, there is remarkable self-discipline on show as melodies are never over-utilised and nothing is drawn out longer than it need be.

Picking highlights is a tough call. Indeed, picking out obvious influences is equally hard. There are shades of My Bloody Valentine in the layered guitar coda of ‘Pixie Space Rock’ and the sad beauty of ‘Slow Bass Flute’ is redolent of early Kraftwerk when they still used conventional instrumentation like flute and electric piano. On the other hand, ‘R3Son8’ has shades of the emperors of improv, Supersilent.

Chromatic Sigh is an absolute joy to explore, full of emotional resonance. It has a perfect balance between experimentation and melody making it equally satisfying on both an emotional and intellectual level. It’s the work of a composer who knows exactly what she’s aiming for, and knows exactly how to achieve that aim. A terrific debut from a major talent.

1. Chromatic Sigh 4:55
2. Pixie Space Rock 5:49
3. Arteline 4:09
4. R3Son8 3:37
5. Slowbeat 3:45
6. Perhaps 3:49
7. Slow Bass Flute 5:11
8. The Garden 5:01
9. Warn Plate 3:09



For more from Dez please read his blog Music Musings & Miscellany