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Lori Scacco
(Eastern Developments)

Lori Scacco is both a classically trained guitarist and pianist and is also a former member of the Too Pure band Seely, who put out a couple of great releases in the mid-90s but seemed to be lost in the shuffle by most people. Circles is her debut solo release, and the title of the album seems very apt given the music located within it. Playing just about every instrument herself (save upright bass, played by Tim Delaney of Kopernik), Scacco has created an album of jazz-influenced music that seems to always wind back in on itself like some sort of musical helix.

The track "Reeling Then Again" opens the disc and moves through several different sections as acoustic guitars blend with upright bass before chimes cascade into the quiet and gears slowly shift as rhodes piano soft electronics mingle with the guitar and bass. Everything is allowed to breath and it's one of those tracks where much of the beauty is just hearing the sounds resonate into quiet. "Imitation Of Happiness" brings very subtle manipulated chimes in alongside acoustic guitar and piano, and once again the track breaths with a quiet life.

Tracks on the album are nearly uniformly pretty, but the one complaint that can be raised against them is that they simply play it a bit too safe sometimes. Although there is a nice dynamic in simply hearing the instruments strike and collide with one another on "Heirlooms," it's still a variation on the upright bass/guitar/piano motif that runs throughout the album. There's a couple places where the album breaks from this, as on the almost droney "Sketches Of Lines In Spiral," (where reverbed chimes and violin swirl around one another in a cloud), but it's soon back to the same palette. Alas, it is a beautiful little album (8 tracks and just about 40 minutes worth), and should provide a nice soundtrack to your nocturnal wind-down.

Rating: 7