Belgian minimalist composer Christina Vantzou is back with the eagerly awaited follow up to 2011’s debut album No.1, with the equally imaginatively titled new album No.2. It’s another good ambient release, with slow, drawn out melodies drenched in melancholy and a beautiful atmosphere.
While her first album was recorded with a 7 piece orchestra, No.2 was recorded with a 15 piece orchestra, adding oboe and bassoon to the larger string section, giving her more range to work with, and the result is excellent. The music here is very slow and drawn out, with the strings weaving a gauze of beautiful melody, accentuated by the subtle use of the wind instruments and piano, particularly on the beautiful “Vostok”. The album moves along glacially for the most part, with the subtly evolving string melodies providing a real sense of melancholy throughout, there’s a strong emotional resonance throughout, it’s a very sad and reflective sounding album, but incredibly beautiful too. “Going Backwards to Recover That Which Was Left Behind” is perhaps the best track here, with strings, piano and wind instruments all played so beautifully, and with such a tight and considered composition that it’s one of the best modern classical tracks I’ve heard for a while, while pieces like “Brain Fog” are slower and a lot more meditative and relaxed, but no less brilliant. . The composition throughout the rest of the album is also of a really high standard, Christina is a very talented woman, and her music has a very unique sound with the attention to detail that goes into every single note across the album, each one adding to the wonderful melancholic atmosphere the album creates. The instruments are so tight and well performed, and each track is layered perfectly thanks to the excellent composition.
Overall this is an excellent follow up to the debut album, more meditative and relaxed, and with a stronger emotional resonance. Christina Vantzou is one of the best ambient composers around and she’s proven it once again here. One that all fans of minimalist classical music should listen to, it has a real sincerity and unique sound throughout, and it’s just simply lovely.