On her third recording, composer, poet, and vocalist Lara Solnicki continues to map new intersections for literature and improvised music. The classically trained Toronto native works with an impressive group of musicians on pieces that both stretch the range of postmillennial vocal music and integrate poetry and improvisations with a unique edge.
The album takes its title from a trilogy of tracks depicting a man in love with the idea of being in love and where that quest leads him. Some pieces are more conventional in their recital of verse, such as “Furling Leaf, Retrocede,” which is about the restriction of the individual by the machine. Here Solnicki gives the musicians roles that embody the poetic themes; bass and drums represent the machine and the frontline instruments are the individual. “Bit Her Sweet Christopher Street” is about her summer of 2017 in New York, which was spent near the Christopher Street Park.
Solnicki is the daughter of a filmmaker and poet, so at some level her development of this unusual art-song style is a natural outgrowth of her formative artistic experiences; she was as influenced by Plath as by Parker. And there is a cinematic sweep to the music, an effect of producer and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Goldsmith, one of Canada’s most celebrated film composers. In the end, though, the triumph of The One and the Other is in its versatility. Each song feels equally likely to charge off in the direction of a conventional standard or something entirely new.