Blue is the color and blue is the mood of Down to the Sadness River by Emilía, a new collaboration between Lee Yi & Vanesa Jimenez (aka Meneh Peh). The album is being released on the multi-disciplinary Rottenman Editions which was founded by Jimenez and where you can also find their 2012 recording under the moniker Niñocometa along with Yi’s lovely Motet EP from earlier this year. The album’s description alludes to “a painful life” and “a suffering past, tragedy and the slow search of the long road to stillness” and while the artists respect their own privacy regarding the details, there are poignant clues in the song titles and there is certainly nothing held back in the haunting intensity of the music.
Yi, who is both a jazz musician and composer of ambient /electronic music, is known for his focus on the use of low fidelity devices and the simulation of symphonies generated with bowed guitar which is graciously embellished here with Meneh Peh’s delicate aesthetic. The pieces are quite short, but their impact is surprisingly powerful, most especially on the title track, “The Sewing Room”, and “Fish Market” all of which feature Yi’s symphonic constructions at their most elaborate while there is touching ethereal beauty in the opening tracks as well as “Strange Light” and the piano-focused “Oil Bread”. Even the succinct interludes (“Solemn Silence”, “One of His Little Shoes”, and “Close”) are vividly expressive despite each being less than a minute in length. Deeply personal, beautifully constructed, and emotionally vulnerable, this record is likely to leave a mark on whoever takes the time to listen.
Down to the Sadness River is being released in a hand-crafted deluxe CD edition of only 20 copies with cyanotype art on canvas that include small numbered prints. Digital downloads are also available and additional related merchandise is expected to be available soon (see picture below for a preview).