“Borderlights” is an EP of impromptus, spontaneous compositions for violoncello and piano written as they were performed by cellist Atzi Muramatsu and pianist Zac Gvirtzman. They traverse a rich terrain of unfiltered expression, informed by the languages of Romanticism and Post Rock through which the duo’s sensibilities emerge. Thematically the EP deals with perseverance in the face of suffering both personal and political, celebrating difference through music making and the empowerment of the creative process.
The opening track, “Unlocking The Air”, takes its name from an Ursula K. Le Guin story about a revolution in which the people of a made up European state protest by shaking their keys in the air. A striking metaphor for the power of the many, rather than emulating Le Guin’s idea sonically the music speaks to the hope and tenacity of progressive movements and the people who create them. In “Louange To The Finitude Of Light”, after Messeian’s louanges (pieces in praise of), Muramatsu draws broad melodic threads from the lower register of the cello around which Gvirtzman’s ostinato chords pivot in a ritualistic dance. “Immanence” rushes headlong like a river, the cello surging upwards over the bubbling urgency of the piano. On the final track “Sadness Is A Sea That Washes Over Me” Muramatsu and Gvirtzman contemplate an expansive autumnal landscape, steeped in the loss of summer’s exuberance, calm and constant, barren yet permeated with an air of hopeful wonder.
The duo first met in high school where playing in bands together was a formative experience for them both. 20 years later, “Borderlights” is their first studio recording and it represents a coming together of two individual voices with a deep mutual trust and understanding. In this way the pieces on this EP, while composed spontaneously, reach far back into the past while at the same time envisaging a the future through their transformative lense.