The Latvian composer Aija Alsina’s last solo release was Domum, in 2017. Coincidentally, it was my first review and writing as a critic. Since then a lot has changed for her, and it is with a more mature manner that Creation, her latest album, has been approached. It is very exciting and interesting to not only hear how Alsina has evolved as a musician and human being over the years, but to observe how her music can now be understood and felt. Creation is dedicated to her newborn and to the artist becoming a mother. Her fascination for the miracle of creation — whether giving birth or creating art — is the focus of this latest project. When words do not suffice anymore, there is art and music, and for Alsina this results in Creation.
“I Hope You Live”, a subject of doubt and hope, which reflects in the selection of instrumental and melodic approach to the theme; a call for life. The very discreet, at first and then poignant strings are performed by the NŌNA String Quartet. Alsina’s music is always somehow cinematic and quite clever; “The Miracle That You Are” is very well crafted, structured and elegantly arranged. It is falsely repetitive, and keeps moving yet never puts the listener out of place. “Mindfulness”, simple, yet very rich in ideas exposes some of Alsina’s best melodic ideas. Of course one can recognise the composer’s own style and her approach to crafting her music. But what is interesting, with “The Known Unknown” for instance, is how she makes use of current musical production techniques to multiply the sonic qualities of the piano, and in this case create a pulsating rhythmic accompaniment resulting from the sound of the piano keys. In Creation, Alsina counts her own stories, “Motherhood”, “A Tiny Heartbeat”, “And So We Meet” are all examples of her musical diary in becoming a mother, with its challenges — “Longing” — and its joys — “To the Moon and Back”. Alsina is of course a visual composer and much of her works focus on writing for screen, and with creation it is somehow her writing the soundtrack to her own film and scenes — “Is This What You’d Imagine”.
Creation is the project of a story; the one of a mother whose purpose in life is to create art, and through this creation explains her own motherhood. Alsina’s instrument of choice is the piano, and her approach is always one that is simple and free of futile ornaments and decorations; she uses all the elements of music in balanced proportions. There is no over usage of musical intellectualism, musical emotions — everything seems to be at the right place, in the right amount. It is a very well crafted project, yet natural and honest. A pure moment of bliss.