AMN Reviews: Corrie van Binsbergen – Self Portrait in Pale Blue (Brokken Records)

Corrie van Binsbergen´s Self Portrait in Pale Blue is a sharing almost too intimate. I feel like I´m eavesdropping on something very private, and I feel that she felt the same thing when she played, and feels a bit conflicted about it.

The Dutch guitarist´s solo confessional is a happenstance, a suggestion made by a colleague at the end of a difficult period for van Binsbergen – broken hand, move from city to country, loss of mother. Unprepared, her self-imposed criterion was to play as few notes as possible. But great restraint does not necessarily mask emotional upheaval.

The first of the thirteen, numbered tracks is however unhesitatingly colourful, eight minutes winding notes backwards, spinning them off into corners, sandpapering strings. Few of the remaining tracks top two minutes; some are sweet, some are perplexed. One I would deem celebratory, another is just so very warm. One chuckles over a private joke recalled; another sounds like a song that suddenly ran through her head. A walking daydream breaks off suddenly, a moment is made to say thanks, a cri de coeur can´t quite get itself out. Her final track is almost as long as her first, more of a textured abstraction of white-on-white, a backdrop for the listener to project his or her own thoughts of what has come before.

Neither melancholia nor sober account taking, van Binsbergen seems ultimately optimistic while reflecting with realistic expectations about how the past influences the present.

Stephen Fruitman