The first time I heard Julia Gjertsen‘s music, it was ‘Slow Motion Stories’, a lovely collection of four ambient piano vignettes which she released in 2012. Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing that EP or the various singles, Piano Day releases, and remixes she has produced since will be thrilled to hear she is coming out with a new full-length album on the Moderna Records imprint this Fall.
Fragile is a mixture of recorded piano, electronics and organic elements recorded in Gjertsen’s home studio in Oslo and accompanied by densely arranged synth layers and percussion. With the exception of the album opener “Hyphen II”, which is a rework of a piece originally composed in 2016, the tracks were created primarily between January and May 2019 and the change of seasons during this time finds parallels in the music.
“As with spring, I think there is both melancholy and naivety in the melodies. The title of the tracks and album came to me when I was in Greece for a week and was working to finish this album. The word ‘Fragile’ and the idea for the album reflects my state of mind and the way I see the world in general, as well as some natural elements such as the sea. For me, we are fragile. This isn’t necessarily negative. As we can hear there are some cracking noises from the piano – I wanted to keep that in my tracks as I think it reflects a feeling of fragility and intimacy. The intention was to create a proximity to the listener, as I always try to do in my music” – Julia Gjertsen
Indeed, spring is a time of life-affirming vitality as well as delicate beauty and Gjertsen has managed to effectively imbue her music with qualities of both. There is a sense of fragility and intimate reflection in these songs, but there is an exuberant, sparkling quality to them as well in the form of bright painterly touches, warm melodic flourishes, and bold rhythmic patterns. The inspiration of the sea with all its color and movement really comes through on “The Fountain”, an especially lovely piece which has been chosen as the album’s first single. You can enjoy an exclusive video preview of the track here.
Fragile will be available in full beginning November 1, 2019. The album was mastered by Taylor Deupree (12k Mastering) and features artwork by Carsten Daub.