For those that remember the works of Brian Eno in his early experimental career, then you have an idea of what StarofAsh attempts to create. This is especially true if you remember the somber melancholy of Roger Eno and his piano treatments (Voices, Between Tides). The Thread, the latest album of music from Heidi Solberg Tveitan, blends piano repetition with an experimental approach to beget a juicy creative flow of sound. Although the school of ‘sound minimalism’ has been around for some time now, its use is still an ‘out of the way’ style that requires a tolerant ear. But if you possess that ear, you can be in for some great treats.
StarofAsh, a vehicle for Tveitan, is her second solo undertaking. Her first, Iter. Viator, was considered a “…melancholic movement over strings, guitars, keyboards, drums, and voices…” and the Thread is not far distant from that. It is an album primarily of sound, although there are some vocalized tracks. While many of the songs follow a distinct musical idea, sometimes they veer off. An example of this is “Drag Them Down,” a lovely, piano-composed piece that employs vocals and, at the end, uses a sound effect of echoing thunder in a threatening contrast to the peaceful tone, much like an approaching storm. And therein lies the element of The Thread. It is a tone painting with something to convey.
I’m calling The Thread an album to pay attention to for fans of this type of experimental but immensely satisfying endeavor.