Susan Frances for Blogcritics
The supple texture of Yelena Eckemoff’s piano keys and the limber tweets of Chris Potter’s saxophone define the dominant characteristics of the latest release from Eckemoff’s quintet, In the Shadow of a Cloud. The ambient soundscapes produce a succor touch that reverberates across the melodic progressions, penetrating the cerebral senses of the audience.
The twinkling licks of the guitar through “Fishing Village” are kindled by the complementing shimmer of the keys, haloed in soaring saxophone notes, giving the track a fleshy texture. Conversely, the aerials of the flute are gently executed, floating across “Waters of Tsna River” and producing an ethereal froth across the tune. The music is conducive to laid-back lifestyles, for audiences that seek a peaceful state of mind.
“Acorn Figurines” is sparsely layered by notes that sparkle in opulent shades, integrating the guitar and keys to create ballet-like silhouettes across the melody. The recording kicks up the tempo to a catchy canter through “On the Motorboat,” moving the picturesque candlelight ambiance into a jovial mood, clad in the skipping pace of the keys and nimble twists of the guitar.
Just as bedtime stories are designed to be told at bedtime, “Hammock Stories” is music one would enjoy while swinging in a hammock. The soft sway of the music incites the listener to embrace the breezy glides of the guitar, intertwined in the languid thrusts of the bass for a lounging pastoral. The smooth pumps of the rhythm section through “Picnic in the Oaks” have a classic ambient glisten that puts the listener at ease.
Equally refined is the placid tone of the guitar lobes shaping “Waltz of the Yellow Petals” into a romantic ballad, generating a dream-like state through the silky vibrations. The improvised ruminations of the keys are lightly dotted by intervals of the guitar and saxophone, flowing with a fluid ease along “Lament.” The recording intensifies the mood through “Vision of a Hunt,” as the instruments turn heavier in tone and quicken their frolic, then switches to a romantic grist in “Tambov Streets on a Summer Night,” as the elegant lines of the keys pilot the melodic motifs. Yelena Eckemoff’s quintet whips up a compilation of romantic ballads, lounging pastorals, and elegant improvisations. Her music depicts life in the laid-back lane, enjoying the scenery and letting the melodic motifs stimulate the cerebral senses.