Elisa Luu is an Italian musician known for her background as a jazz-oriented saxophonist and her move to become an artist largely associated with digitally produced ambient music. Her debut LP Chromatic Sigh saw the light of day in 2009 and was praised by critics. This is my first time hearing about her, and her follow up comes out today. It is titled Un Giorno Sospeso, and like her first album, Hidden Shoal Recordings is overseeing the release.
Listen to “Se Fosse Per Me”
Un Giorno Sospeso is the Italian translation of a “one day suspension.” That being said, what does Elisa Luu mean by the term? It is chosen to describe or at least bear reason to her latest album of ambient electronic work, but which of the two and how does it pertain? Possibly she implies punishment. This music could be the ambience fitting for an adult timeout. Punishment is actually way too harsh; instead, maybe she wishes for this release to be a treatment for those who wish to reflect and better their conduct. Then there’s always the literal route: Luu may think that her latest set of desolate, spacey numbers provide the listener with a physical suspension, as if they’re walking on air from all these waves of sound.
Interpret it how you will, Un Giorno Sospeso is, like many ambient works, a pensive way to spend your time. Luu’s eight pieces all accomplish inclusion of the listener. She never yanks you into the mess, which can hardly be referred to as a “mess” as these songs are all carefully crafted and detailed, but each number begins with a rather timid opening; one that slowly immerses and involves the listener. If the “Guide To Ambience” exists, it is definitely on Luu’s bookstand adjacent to her workspace, available for reference.
Concerning ambient music in general, it’s so difficult to find anything that’s out of the box. Let’s not say that it’s a limiting subgenre of electronic, but without ambition or a sense of uniqueness, the product is easily lumped with the rest. I trust Luu’s ambition, but no new ground is covered on this album. There’s no easier way to say it. None of these songs sound anything unlike all of the ambient music you have heard before, nor is any of this compelling or gripping; not that ambience is supposed to be this gripping ordeal, because the atmosphere she has presented is wholly listenable and appropriate. It is every sense of the word “ambient.” The bottom line is that if you wish to hear something displaying adventurous exercise, this is not the place to look.
The greatest and only crime that Un Giorno Sospeso commits is its safety. While it is completely inoffensive stylistically, no one seeks music that is as tame and unrewarding as this. Luu’s latest release is the equivalent of being on auto-pilot. It’s white noise. If you want something to lull you to sleep, this isn’t even your best option, but it is an option, sure.