Saturday, December 2, 2023

Hania Rani "Ghosts" & North American Tour: Nov 22 - Dec 10

While sharing company with modern neo-jazz chamber ensembles like Portico Quartet and GoGo Penguin, trumpeter and bandleader, Matthew Halsall, and other Gondwana Records modern classical, jazz and electronics artists, Polish composer Hania Rani has built up a considerable audience for her solo piano miniatures. Her latest for the label, "Ghosts", moves into an adjacent, aqueous abstract pop territory, with a few select tracks exploring muted vocals and diffuse song structures. The album itself mirrors the two concurrent courses of the progression of her career; she has released an album of duets for the seminal German classical label Deutsche Grammophon, composed a spare score for a documentary about Swiss sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, and issued a series of releases exploring her own brand of hush electronic chamber music. This dynamic interplay is explored in her BBC Radio 4 Profile, and while Rani has a singular fluid sound, she considers her work very much an ongoing progression, “I think I am still looking for my own voice." She says; "I started to learn from the masters, to mix what I know from classical music, from other things I listened to, and from one of my first inspirations Nils Frahm". It is this later, current neoclassical world to which her albums belong, which is cemented by the participation on her most recent recordings of Erased Tapes staples like Ólafur Arnalds, Portico Quartet's Duncan Bellamy, and indie rock artist, Patrick Watson. For all of these associations with an inward-looking brand of neoclassical chamber music, her current North American tour alongside bassist Ziemowit Klimek will be hosted in rock clubs and venues. "Just because of my classical background, I am fascinated with these a little bit more rock venues." Rani continues; "Also, there is something about a standing show that I admire. Sometimes I feel a little bit of embarrassment if people are just sitting and watching me from this very relaxed position. I know that some listeners would rather sit comfortably, but as a performer, it gives me so much energy and gives me more focus.” And while the instrumental soundscapes and tangential ballads on "Ghosts" are delicate, Rani says that's not true of her live sets; “The show is quite loud,” she notes. “We start with these extremely intense synthesizer sounds. And then I can go play the piano solo, really quietly. I need these kinds of extremes.”. Indeed, as posited by The Washington Post for her east coast dates, "Polish Musician Hania Rani’s Album is Delicate. Her Live Show Won’t Be", and the following Chicago show, "The Atmosphere was Just Right for Hania Rani’s Mesmerizing, Sold-Out Concert", we can expect more of the same from Seattle's performance next week at The Neptune Theatre.