The release of a new album by Sophie Hutchings to coincide with Piano Day 2017 has been one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Having beguiled us with the dreamy abstractions of Wide Asleep (Preservation) which only came out last summer, Yonder finds Sophie in a more ebullient mood as radiant melodies ripple and flow from her piano with pure élan.
While the piano is the primary instrument, strings add expansiveness and color to tracks such as “North Northwest”, “The Road”, and “Always” as well as the spellbinding closing track “Pipe Dream” where they are joined by ethereal voices to stunning effect. These are sounds that evoke the joy of being alive and the freedom of wide open spaces; of azure skies, wind rushing through the tall grass, and sunlight dancing on the water. There is no pretension here, only the life-affirming joy of beautiful music of the purest kind.
Yonder is available on CD & digital from 1631 Recordings and in a limited black vinyl LP edition from Hobbledehoy (500 copies).