||“The 52” by Rachel LaFond
“With ‘The 52,’ Rachel LaFond has created a special kind of magic.” – Dyan Garris
Indie composer, Rachel LaFond, had released three albums when she decided she was ready to try something different that would push her not only as a composer, but as a human being.
“The 52” is an ambitious musical project in which Rachel is writing, recording, and releasing a single every week for a year. The music is distributed on all major platforms. The year began on March 4, 2019, with the release of “She Dreams of Flight.” As of this review she has released a total of 36 tracks. A new track is released every Monday. The music is melodic, captivating, soulful, and deeply personal.
“The 52” primarily consists of solo piano – usually structured compositions – but includes some multi-instrument compositions, as well as some collaborations with other artists, such as Al Jewer. And, while visiting fellow pianist, Greg Maroney, she started composing one piece, “Hand-Built Dream,” on his Steinway.
The project encompasses all different types of moods, energy levels, and musical styles. As well, for creative variety, some tracks are cover songs, adaptations, and sometimes improvisations. Rachel reaches into unfamiliar places for inspiration and to musically articulate different shades of our human experience. She hits the mark here. The music is soul-stirring on many levels.
Space doesn’t permit the individual addressing of all existing 36 tracks here. Suffice it to say, the solo piano is ultra-relaxing, well composed, heartfelt, and extremely likeable – gorgeous, indeed – all through. “She Dreams of Flight” is a perfect opener to the pathway of what follows. This is well composed and played with an effortless grace. Very relaxing.
I personally love “To Catch a Dream,” which is an uplifting piece that allows us to escape for a few moments and build castles in the clouds. As well, “Hand-Built Dream” is exquisite and “Here and Gone” is a passionate piece about life and love; we should live it to the fullest and sing with our hearts while we are here.
A musical vigil for the victims of the Christchurch terror attacks in March 2019, “Survey the Wreckage,” is calm and reverent and tugs effectively at the heartstrings. “The Ignite Saga,” which is about the experience of falling in love, is in 3 Movements: “Confluence,” “In the Dawnlight,” and “Into the Unknown.” All 3 are outstanding. “Serpentine” is hauntingly beautiful. “Let Go” is flowing, free, and light.
Some standouts from the other tracks, not to be missed, include #12.1, “Shades of Solitude – Embrace.” In this remix, Mike Bloemendal's emotionally captivating guitar adds a sweetness to the solitude; an embrace that lifts the veil and lends some shine to the grey. Stunningly beautiful. “Just Beyond the Horizon,” is Rachel’s first piano and cello piece. Here, Rachel challenged herself to compose for more than one instrument. This is passionate, soulful, and beautifully done. “Stormstruck,” has a rock perspective, with Rachel and Scott D. Davis teaming up in this interesting piano duet, which begins quietly, but builds into the “metal-esque.”
The exceptional “Evanescent,” featuring Al Jewer on flutes to Rachel’s piano, combines calming and gentle piano and 6 flutes, blended into a rich tapestry. Meditative and rich, it’s definitely a favorite.
This impressive body of work is truly magical. Can’t wait to hear the rest. Go Rachel!
Get “The 52” here or wherever music is streamed and sold: https://rachellafond.com/the52/