Nov 2011 15

Tina Guo - The JourneyTina Guo
Category: Classical / Experimental
Album: The Journey
Stars: 4
Blurb: A journey worth taking, this album offers the smallest sampling of an immensely talented artist.


The crossover from classical music to varying forms of rock, metal, industrial, and all points in between is nothing new, except that when an artist like Tina Guo comes along who so dynamically explores all of these points, it’s something to behold. Her latest album, The Journey includes a warning label: Extreme range of style and musical genres – listener beware. No statement could be more appropriate for on this album, Guo pulls all the stops and demonstrates to her audience why her proficiency as a cellist and musician has taken her from performing with symphony orchestras the world over to the likes of Johnny Marr, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, and Stevie Wonder, as well as contributing to film scores for renowned composers Hans Zimmer and John Debney. All of that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she has achieved, and The Journey only offers the merest taste of her talents, but what a sweet taste it is.

Beginning with the main theme to Amalia, composed by Nuno Malo and performed with the Budapest Symphony, The Journey begins with a somber “Lament” that truly evokes an epic and romantic feel, starting the listener off with tears and anticipation. The following two pieces, one of Chopin’s renowned polonaise pieces (and according to the liner notes the first cello piece taught to Guo), the other a Piazzolla tango, further exemplifies Guo’s classical sensibilities, perfectly accompanying Christine Utomo’s piano. By now, the listener might think the album simply a showcase for Guo’s classical repertoire, but beginning with the companion pieces “Winter Star” and “Winter Starlight,” we get into Guo’s own compositions, the two tracks acting as sound and vocal poems whose plucked, twinkling backdrops and gliding melodies capture a sense of sadness for love unfulfilled. “The Awakening” and “Lacrimosa” follow, finally incorporating synthesized ambience to complement her cello and voice; these two, along with “Sunlight” and “The Journey Home” demonstrate just why Guo is as much sought after for soundtrack work as for symphony orchestras, the latter incorporating shimmering electronica to highlight the sullen and soaring melodies. The final two tracks of the album bring us into Guo’s metal territory, with “Forbidden City” co-written with Godhead’s Jason Miller as the snakelike scrapes of electric cello and erhu slither above Miller’s chugging guitars for a thunderous track stylistically inspired by Rammstein. The Journey ends with one of Guo’s most famous pieces, her metallic rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” titled “Queen Bee” to exhibit Guo’s extraordinary speed and technicality on the electric cello.

As stated, The Journey can not possibly present the full scope of Tina Guo’s musical talents – for that, one would have to read her biography on her website and see her perform in any venue possible. However, the album does at least provide a tasteful sample of insight into this artist’s soul with what are perhaps some of her more introspective and personal pieces. In the end, is that not the function of good art? Put simply, The Journey is well worth embarking on.

Track list:

  1. ament: Main Theme from Amalia
  2. Introduction & Polonaise Brillante Op.3
  3. Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  4. Winter Star
  5. Winter Starlight
  6. The Awakening
  7. Lacrimosa
  8. Sunlight
  9. The Journey Home
  10. Forbidden City
  11. Queen Bee

Tina Guo Website
Tina Guo Facebook
Guo Industries

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3


Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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