Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

Linda Bjalla: 17 September 2009

website (artist):

website (artist):

Overview: Linda Bjalla is the solo musical identity of Izumi Suzuki from Japan, now resident in Sweden, who lists her primary instruments as: piano, voice, glockenspiel, melodica. Izumi's main web presence is her simply styled personal website, where she makes frequent announcements on her work. She also has an extensive MySpace network at the time of this review - September 2009 - comprising over 1100 friends.

Linda Bjalla has released one of her so-infrequent-I-could-weep micro-albums. This one, "She Sings Sea Songs", from her new home in Sweden is a landscape she has translated into a tapestry of magic. The album comprises three short pieces, each as evanescent as the flickering of candle light casting it's long shadow on a distant wall. It is the duty of artists to give a little of their own soul in their work and this, Izumi has granted. This small review is witness to her gift.

The album was available as a free download at the Mimi label website now defunct.

Linda Bjalla: 14 May 2008

Metadata: Album (EP) review Lost in the Forest.

All of her web space is a pleasure to visit. They are as economical as a zen garden with lots of white space and simple understated typography and perfectly complements her musical style.

Lost in the Forest is both a musical work and a hand crafted artefact of simple beauty. Enclosed in a tactile, crackley cellophane bag, each cover has been hand stamped with iconic children's storybook imagery. An owl, a magical tree, a rabbit. And each is unique, a touch that communicates the passion and sensitivity that Izumi brings to her work.

Lost in the Forest is the encapsulation of an idealised childhood - of stories from Hans Christian Anderson or The Brothers Grimm read by nightlight at bedtime. It moved me deeply - it is an island of calm away from the unforgiving pressures of adulthood; a sweet-sorrow reflection on mortality. To evoke the positive things as do these four simple pieces takes a rare sensitivity. To place the work in a collection of four is percisely the right choice. The EP is soon over - it works it's magic and then, in the afterglow there is a time for quiet reflection. This is not a work to be consumed, rather it is a fragile, magical gift for stimulating memory and should be used sparingly, when the need is there for that connection with the past.

Commentary of the tracks individually is superfluous. Nothing more can be added to distillation evoked by the four titles:

Kiss Thumbelina

Forest at Night

Ring of Earth

Another World at the End of the Tunnel