Vårdåb is the sophomore album from Danish neo-classical composer Ea Wim a genre that has barely any female representation in Denmark, let alone a young female composer. Since I first heard the preternatural beauty of debut single ‘Vinterens Vinde’ earlier this year I have been utterly captivated by music that creates a bridge between the earthbound and the heavenly. The album feels like a modern interpretation of the ancient Greek idea of the music of the spheres; music created by the movement of celestial bodies that could only be heard by the soul.

Following on from Wim’s debut album Bev​æ​gende Stilstand, Vårdåb moves away from the sorrow born of her mother’s cancer and a personally rough time at university in Iceland, to music that would address her anxiety and tap into what Ea says was “a profound youthful longing to be completely, euphorically happy.” It’s safe to say that if you are willing to push pause on the world and sink into the album you will be transported to a better place.

Like nature captured in slow motion, the music here moves at a pace which allows you to luxuriate in its embrace. The piano offers delicate accompaniment on some tracks with occasional chords and on others notes fall like raindrops in glissando splashes and delightful use of birdsong on ‘De Døde’ and ‘Kyrie’.

The combination of a string trio with harp and flute elongates the album’s beauty and provides the kind of thermal currents that keep birds in the air. Anyone who is a fan of Björk’s use of strings – especially on the acoustic version of Vulnicura – will find Vårdåb in the same territory and there is the same shifting sand arrangements you can hear in the work of Ligeti’s (i.e. 2001: A Space Odyssey) or John Tavener (‘Song for Athene’).

Tying everything together is Ea Wim’s stunning voice. They have an enthralling clarity when unaccompanied but often they multiply to create everything from unison singing to heavenly choirs bathing everything in a golden light. It’s refreshing to hear an album that is so organic and free from electronic instrumentation or augmentation. The assurance of composition and arrangement, coupled with the fact that Ea Wim produced the album, shows a rare talent in the ascendant. This is writing at a level that some composers take a lifetime to achieve, which is great news because that means years more of Ea Wim translating the celestial into more beatific music for us mortals.

Ea Wim socials: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Bandcamp | TikTok

Flute: Sille Enevoldsen
Harp: Steaph Chaimbeul
Violin: Esther Fog-Nielsen
Viola: Caroline Risbo
Cello: Safira Nielsen
Vocal and Keys: Ea Wim

Review by Paul F Cook

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