Kimura, Lunny and Kelly: Folding review – startlingly beautiful

An imaginative, expertly-crafted elision of free music and ambient recording

    
Artist: Izumi Kimura/Cora Venus Lunny/Anthony Kelly
Genre: Jazz
Label: Far Point Recordings

Long after abstraction in visual culture has become mundane, music that has no formal or discernible structure remains alien and unsettling to all but the most open of ear. Folding is a record for those open ears, an imaginative, expertly-crafted elision of free music and ambient recording that challenges conventional divisions between intended and unintended sound, and asks the listener to notice the beauty in the everyday.

The album grew out of Izumi Kimura's residency with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in 2019, in which the Japanese-born pianist, a long-time Irish resident, explored the relationship between her own music making and the everyday sounds of Dún Laoghaire. As collaborators, the restless, ever-curious Kimura called on her free improv partner, violinist Cora Venus Lunny, and sound artist Anthony Kelly, co-creator of the wonderful sound map of Dún Laoghaire.

For Kelly, there is music in the water lapping on Killiney beach, a fog horn blowing at the end of the east pier, even the roar of a jet passing over Deansgrange cemetery at night. Kimura and Lunny respond to these meticulously captured soundscapes with the sensitivity and inventiveness of musicians who are seasoned explorers of the less-visited uplands of improvisation, with the technical skills to follow where their ears lead, and the patience and humility to allow the music to unfold organically. The results are startlingly beautiful.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director