Viv Corringham & Rick Wilson: Glimpses of Recognition

This is a fine album of songs by a formidable combination of singer and instrumentalist. The songs are long, spare and enigmatic, but they never cease to engage the listener with dynamic shifts of mood and texture. Corringham is a gifted mezzo-soprano whose ability to inhabit the landscape of the song recalls the great Diamanda Galas. Her extended vocal range allows her to stamp her authority on each of the eight tracks, delivering their allusive texts in ways that are constantly challenging and surprising.

Corringham is accompanied by Rick Wilson on drums, keyboards and electronics, and on three tracks by Anne Wood on violin. Wilson’s drumming is always inventive, whether he is powering the song with a steady rhythm or adding colour through his arsenal of percussive effects. Wood’s violin hovers and descends with unerring accuracy, deftly occupying the spaces left by the percussion and voice.

The architecture of this music is subtle and persuasive. A song like ‘Laid Bare’ begins quietly, searchingly, with Corringham’s becalmed yet authoritative voice underpinned by tinkling bells and spooky electronic textures. Wilson ups the urgency almost imperceptibly with busy, confident drumming, before the vocals return to round things off. The album is full of such pleasing attention to detail. Corringham’s voice is so strong that she can sing lines like “we are all participants in eternity” (‘That Moment’) and make them sound eloquent and necessary, rather than empty and pretentious. That strength combines beautifully with Wilson’s vibrant instrumentation, affording the listener far more than mere glimpses of recognition.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 12, 2004)

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