“There is a life and there is a death, and there are beauty and melancholy between.”
Born in Athens, Greek composer Zinovia Arvanitidi is most widely remembered as one half of the duo Pill-Oh in Vanishing Mirror as well as her debut solo The Gift of Affliction. Zinovia returns with her first solo piano album titled Ivory, and like its precursors, further highlights her mastery in crafting piano ambiances of austere beauty and melancholia, led by mesmerizing melodies and evolving cinematic textures.
Fully self-produced, the now France-based composer navigates through her own time-memory universe with Debussy-like impressionistic daubs, but sublimely she draws the listener into a strangely familiar landscape where the past confronts the present – it is perhaps a dimension that exists within all of us. As the chapters unfold, memories are untangled as darkness shifts into light. The minimalistic nature of the early piano pieces are then transformed, lush and ornate with orchestral strings, subtle electronic atmospheres, field recordings and airy whispers.
An omnipresent sense of duality lingers throughout the album, as with the ivory and ebony colours of piano keys, or the birth and decay of seasons. This is a work where the artist has grasped the essence of the quote by Albert Camus: “There is a life and there is a death, and there are beauty and melancholy between”. The aural journey heightens, then subsides with a newfound serenity in closing, engaging the listener to invoke their own introspections on acceptance and healing.
Rooted in film and television (and represented by film composer agency Oticons among the names of Shigeru Umebayashi and Jan A.P Kaczmarek), Zinovia’s well-versed background in cinematic scoring manifests in her dexterity at veiling intricacies within each track that only unveil themselves with each subsequent listen.
French photographer Aëla Labbé’s enigmatic cover art photography once again unifies with Zinovia’s soundscapes since her work for Vanishing Mirror.