Despite being signed to the esteemed Kranky imprint Christina Vantzou didn’t break like she should have with her underrated 2011 effort No. 1 . Yet that’s hardly deterred the neoclassically inclined composer from carrying on with No. 2 an album that once again brings forth a stunning symphony of synthesizers samples and voice.
Lighter in tone than No. 1 the followup sees Vantzou branching out in more ways than one. Most noticeably the arrangements of No. 2 are denser and more varied with the returning Magik*Magik Orchestra helping fill in the gaps via bassoon oboe and a gorgeous array of string movements. Vantzou also puts more emphasis on sci-fi tendencies thanks to a heady selection of vintage synth play and angelic vocal work that amplifies the record’s dream-like qualities.
The album sounds like the soundtrack to an unmade film (not surprising considering Vantzou is also a filmmaker) evoking works like Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color score or even that of Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett’s Her .
There was nothing wrong with Vantzou’s formula on No. 1 but she’s done a stellar job of improving what was already great.