I was immediately intrigued by the curious self-titled five-track album The Paper Violin from The Paper Violin. If you’re looking for a conventional music experience it is best to bow out now, however if you’re unafraid of a little experimentation I suggest you stick around. The Paper Violin is a solo act featuring professional jazz guitarist Evan Ho. Ho, works out of California, mostly in the bay area.
To begin understanding what you’re hearing I think it’s important to know WHAT you’re hearing. The instrument lineup is fantastic with things like nylon and steel string guitars, melodica, violin, clarinet, alto and soprano saxophones, hi-hat and piano.
Ho is also a fan of unconventional instruments such as the sounds of his surroundings. To be honest, I wouldn’t have known I was hearing things like a typewriter, the sound of book pages turning or even sounds from an infant unless I had read the submission.
I really enjoyed his point of view on this album which is a bit hard to describe but in a good way. The music is full of jazzy, organic sounds that seem to almost mimic nature at times. There are no set rhythms, the vibe is very low key and teeters between romantic and chill. Don’t hold your breath for any sort of big dramatic moment; that’s not coming. The tracks blend easily into one another.
The one conflict I had was if I would prefer the songs cut up into tracks or presented as one piece. I feel if the songs were a little more distinctive from one another I wouldn’t mind them being broken up, but as they are, I think I would’ve preferred just one big movement. The biggest emotion I felt listening to the music was intrigued. I had no idea where the music was going to go, even on the second listen, but I was okay with that. I trusted Ho’s vision to take me somewhere and his work is capable of transporting the listener.
This album was a DIY recording project. All audio production was done by Ho himself and I have to say, I am blown away. His audio work complemented the cool vibes of his music so perfectly. He utilized techniques which dulled any sharp edges, keeping things full of reverb and fuzz, which can often go so wrong so quick, but this was on point. For the audio nerds reading, I’m going to quote Ho on how he created his sound.
“The DAW is protools 8le. All of the acoustic recordings were done using either a Blue Berry cardioid condenser microphone or a Royer Labs R-122 MKII Active Ribbon mic. the EQs, Reverbs and mastering tools were the default 8le plugg-ins.”
The Paper Violin is refreshing, I would love to hear more should Ho ever have the time. The music is so interesting that I feel I could listen to it while trying to relax in the tub or even while writing. As I have said, it’s a little hard to explain but I enjoyed what I heard and I am happy to make the investment to hear it again.
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