(Eh?)

Marina Hardy plays just everything. The fact is, she plays everything well enough to compose lots of different pieces by overdubbing herself in several stylistic contexts. I’m not talking guitar noodling and workstation-fuelled plink-plonking; the girls is at home with instruments such as harp, trombone, drums, violin, all kinds of percussion, piano, banjo, I mean anything emitting sounds, Hardy’s able to more or less bend to some rule. That said, this CD appears like a collection of demos – some of them excellent, a few over average, a couple too naïve. Sometimes it’s nice to do so, because this cancels any excess of intellectual fat. What’s to be really liked, besides this conceptual freedom, is Hardy’s oscillation between total consonance (she even executes standards and folk tunes – the rendition of “Ain’t necessarily so” is great) and push-to-the-limit dissonant improvisation. The best level of technical proficiency is shown on the violin (the album title should tell); quirky tempos and scarcely predictable variations are also part of the scenery. The only thing that left me stunned was looking at the influences in her MySpace page and finding, although misspelled, two or three Italian nonentities in there, such as pathetic clones of Tom Waits and deceased third-rate popular singers. Marina must be good-hearted and have connections around these shores, I surmise. It only adds to the strangeness of this disc, whose most interesting parts let us hope for the best.

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