Reviews 10-18-2015

Music Reviews 

 

   

Fire in the Rainstorm

by Kori Linae Carothers

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With three album releases under her belt Koriís 4th full length release is called Fire in the Rainstorm which simply adds another fantastic album to the catalog of released titles for Kori Linae Carothers. Kori has been immersed in her music since taking classical music lessons way back when she was 8 years old  and then starting to compose her own songs when she was 14. With that kind of background and years of practice and study between then and now you would be right to assume that Fire in the Rainstorm is a distillation of all that she has learned so far placed into one tremendous album.

Even though she has been playing music for a many years now Fire in the Rainstorm is Koriís first solo piano album in which the focus is completely on what she does behind the keyboard. While others might find this kind of challenge intimidating because all of the responsibility for a good or bad album comes down to how well they can stand on their own without anyone accompanying them. Kori being the consummate artist that she is doesnít seem to miss a beat so to speak as she gives us 12 tracks that quite simply are reflections of her heart and the emotions that live there.

A turning point in Koriís musical career came when you first discovered the music of Windham Hill and all the fine artists that populated that world. Many of us as listeners went through that same journey of discovery when we found the Windham Hill and the Narada music labels and began to delve into the treasure trove of music that we found there. For Kori as a musician she felt like she had found the Holy Grail of instrumental music so it is no wonder that she was overjoyed at the opportunity of being able to record her Trillium album with Will Ackerman at the Imaginary Roads Studio in Vermont. Having hit it off with Will Ackerman on her first trip there to record Trillium Kori returned to Vermont in 2014 to record Fire in the Rainstorm. What better place to record your first effort at a solo piano work than at Imaginary Roads Studio with Will Ackerman as one of the producers of the project.

There are a few songs on Fire in the Rainstorm that allow Koriís classical training to shine through giving listeners a real good taste of the technical skills that Kori possesses in regards to the compositions that have made it onto this new album. Liberty is the one that comes to mind first as Kori really gets lets go at about the 2:23 mark of this song and the music soars as she empties herself into the piece with unbridled passion as her fingers fly on the keyboard. The music becomes sweeping and spacious as Kori allows the composition to breathe and find itself through her hands.

Meadow is a warm and sunny composition that very much has the listener basking in the sunshine while lying on a grassy spot staring out over a gently rolling patch of land. Koriís playing will melt away your worries as the beauty of this melody will reach right into your soul and remind you of a less stressful time in your life and allow you to wrap yourself in it for a few minutes. This is one of those songs that you can put on repeat and let it go for quite some time before you feel like moving on. And especially for those of us on the east coast who are losing the warmth of the summer this song is a perfect way to at least hang on to the memories if not the actual feelings of being out there in a meadow somewhere.

All of the compositions that Kori has included on this album are very worthy of being here and all of them spotlight various emotions and struggles that Kori has faced in her life. Some of the tracks that I enjoyed the most are Meadow, The Kindly Beast, Whispers of the Heart and Time Passages (no not the Al Stewart classic song) with each one of these stirring thoughts and creating vivid pictures in my mind of current and past events in my life. Fire in the Rainstorm was a comforting journey of realization that oftentimes reflected the true nature of life which as we all know is not always as light and airy as we might like. Koriís playing was skillfully executed as she offered her open heart to us through the music that she crafted for inclusion on this release.

As you might expect from where it was recorded the sound of Fire in the Rainstorm was first class and was consistent throughout the entire album. Not only is this essential so that you can hear exactly what was recorded but it is also essential so that nothing that was done in the mixing process interferes with the emotions that were being communicated through the music. The music was polished to perfection but it never interfered with what Kori had imbued the music with when she wrote it.

I would say that Fire in the Rainstorm is an introspective piano album with patches of warmth and delicacy but also filled with many moments of looking deep inside oneself to really see the truth that lives there. The title itself speaks of the duality that we all face in our lives that coexist even though rationally they should not be able to live together. Fire and rain are the extremes of our lives but we are able to find the middle ground between the two and each brings to us that which is needed for us to be happy with the life that we are living. They are the passion and the emotions that we hold in balance and it is in that place between that we move, breathe and exist and that is what Kori has been able to capture on the tracks of this album.

 All of the tracks on this album are exceptional and you will find much to love about the music on this release. The compositions are filled with powerful, emotional energy that points to the impressive musicianship that Kori brought to the project as well as her delightful ability to capture these feelings within the music that she composed. This album was a perfect vehicle for Koriís first solo piano effort and we as listeners reap the rewards of this wonderful effort every time that we put Fire in the Rainstorm on for another listen. Recommended by Ambient Visions.

Reviewed by Michael Foster, editor Ambient Visions