The Space Between

Joanna Brouk

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The Space Between Review

by Paul Simpson

Throughout her career as a musician, Joanna Brouk composed sparse, serene pieces inspired by natural frequencies of the world. While she came from a contemporary classical background, having studied under Robert Ashley and Terry Riley, her music was embraced by the new age community due to its healing qualities. 1981's The Space Between is one of her earliest releases, and it represents her music at its most soothing and meditative. The album's title track (also included on Brouk's 2016 anthology Hearing Music) is a 22-minute sail across a vast, shimmering sea, much like the album's cover art. Slow, resounding piano notes meander underneath busier, more chipper piano playing, and the effect is both relaxing and playful. "Chimes and Bells" has clear, simple melodies played on a saron (an Indonesian metallic percussion instrument traditionally used in gamelan), seemingly meant to express the joy and beauty in simply existing. "Winter Chimes" has soft, echoing chimes behind pianos and tremolo vibrations, continuing "The Space Between"'s feeling of floating on a gentle pond. "Golden Cloud Layers" is the album's strangest piece, consisting of nebulous, possibly backwards drones rather than notes, but even this sounds pleasant and refreshing rather than dark or ominous. While Hearing Music is a more thorough representation of Brouk's range as a composer, The Space Between is some of her most blissful, reflective work.

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