Ships and Trees – Heidi Elva
By Chris Peken
Heidi Elva’s debut Ships and Trees evokes the sound of the last moments of twilight, just before darkness overcomes. Using all the elements not only at her disposal but all around her, Elva compliments her harp and vocal basis with atmospheric loops, distant piano, the sound of trains; and on Er Hu nothing more than her recording of an old Chinese man playing Er Hu on a busy city street. Her ear for gathering the essence of a scene into a sound is at the heart of Ships and Trees. Like Inga Liljestrom, with whom she regularly plays, Elva explores the music of imaginary film noir soundtracks, but she has a distinctly Oriental flavor. Her minimalist approach and distant little-girl voice risk being passed on by in a busy world of hustle and bustle, but sometimes it’s worth stopping a moment to look at what is in your periphery vision – you might just like what you see.