Marta Cascales Alimbau is a pianist and composer from Barcelona. She is known for her collaborations in many fields of arts, such as her mobile sculptures project with Carla Cascales in 2017. Her first EP, Light-house, was released through Piano and Coffee Records on January 19th, 2018. Although primarily a piano album, Light-house features Mireila Vila on the violin, Irene Labrador on the cello and Alimbau on the piano.
There are several themes and references in Light-house. A series of homages to two of Alimbau’s main influences: Arvo Pärt—with two pieces named after him and with which Alimbau extends Pärt’s approach to music, where “the sounds are there to surround the silence”—and Bach. Alimbau also reflects on her time spent at the Varda Artists Residency in 2017, and the imaginary around the ocean, the fog and the tide from Sausalito. Light-house is an opportunity for Alimbau to carry on her search for her own sound and musical identity.
Arvo and Pärt, the opening and closing pieces of Light-house centre around a serene theme taken in turn by the strings, and the piano. Pleut illustrates the influence the impressionists (particularly Debussy or Mompou) have had on Alimbau’s writing, with cascading notes punctuated by discreet strings. Bachiana is a lovely counterpoint conversational piece between the piano and the strings. House and Tide—my personal favourite—are two very contemplative piece that once more reflect Alimbau’s ability at writing beautiful evocative pieces.
Alimbau’s creative process and artistic vision are very well illustrated in Light-house. In her own words, “Light-house represents that energy that keeps you going […] the same happens in the creative process, which is a constant of light that comes and goes and although the light leaves, you know it will return”.
While there is no such thing as feminine (or masculine music), Light-house certainly bears a sense of gentleness and elegance. It is one of my favourite release this year, and I cannot recommend enough to let yourself be lulled by Alimbau’s music.