Review of Soledad by Susan Alcorn, Relative Pitch Records, 2015
There is something extremely delicate, so clean and clear in Susan Alcorn’s slide guitar. Something really innovative and important that it’s revolutionizing the simple and traditional concept of “pedal steel guitar”, tearing it from his typical role that until now we were used to and inserting it in a whole new light. On this Soledad Alcorn manages to make a step further by arranging in a totally innovative way the works of Argentine composer and accordionist Astor Piazzolla, well known for his compositions that combine the tango, jazz and classical music.
Alcorn draws a large set of sounds from her instrument, transforms it into a lavish, baroque organ, in a kind of theremin to create noir effects from science fiction movies, in a tone probe to investigate the depth and the textures of the songs, to create ephemeral and delicate melodic architectures to the service of music by Astor Piazzolla. It’s amazing to hear his re-interpreted tango in this way: Alcorn manages to create an ethereal structure of great depth without being tied in any way to a source of rhythm, the ternary rhythm, the basic structure, tango’s beating heart here seems to disappear, dissolving itself into the sublimate intense melody played by her pedal steel guitar. It’s an intelligent and delicate deconstruction work, that with slow and elegant precision breaks down, examine and then resumes the songs, without haste and always mindful of the original melody. Handsome bassist Michael Formanek intervention in the “Suite for Ahl”. If you want to hear something completely new and exciting, but at the same time still accessible, give a listen to Soledad. You will not regret it, I promise.