Vol. I: Battle Cry review from Disassociated Press

Thank you Ian Gray and Disassociated Press for this flattering review of Vol. I: Battle Cry.

Christen Lien’s ‘Vol I: Battle Cry’ Gives the Viola Its Voice Back

“I’ve always felt a little bit of sympathy for the viola. The violin, in spite of its rather thin voice and high screech potential, always gets the limelight, while the richer, sonorous voice of the viola gets relegated to harmonies and pizzicatos. Well, I can feel a little less sympathy after listening to Christen Lien’s new CD Vol. I: Battle Cry. Lien definitely gives the instrument its voice back, and lets it say all the things it has the beauty and the power to say when it’s in the right hands.

If you like the loop-based cello work of Zoe Keating, there’s a good chance you’d enjoy Lien’s work. Lien uses a bit of looping to help create the voices, rhythms, and textures on Battle Cry. But the fact that both Keating and Lien create atmospheric and compelling music by using looping on their bowed instruments is where the comparison ends. While I adore Keating’s soaring textural broods, Lien branches out a bit more.

The tunes on Battle Cry range from the playful to the reflective, and from the almost searingly rhythmic to pastoral realms that literally brought tears to my eyes on repeated listens.

There are brief previews of the songs below, and full length previews on her site . It’s available on Amazon as single songs, an album download, or eco-friendly on-demand CD, as well as from the other sources listed on Lien’s site, including CDBaby and iTunes. Learn more about how Lien was inspired by Martin Luther King – among other things – in this SCPR piece. The article includes this clip in which she walks you through the inpirations for the individual tunes. Lien has a lot of interesting things to say, but I’m quite content with what she says with the viola.”

Read the full review here.

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