Nat Bartsch
4.5 stars
Reviewed by Barry O’Sullivan

This album is a re-interpretation of Nat Bartsch’s solo piano album, Hope, centered around a jazz quartet and incorporating classical musicians and ambient electronics. With improvisation, orchestration, and audio production to bring her musical ideas to life, Bartsch experiments and displays her various musical sides in one place. The result is a personal recording full of emotional and engrossing music, best heard in one sitting. Bartsch retraces her previous journey in all its detail, reconnecting with the themes of Hope, changing, and rethinking them as the journey progresses. However, predictability is not the key here. The quartet’s extensive experience playing together comes to the fore and is strikingly evident throughout. They create at times an almost abstract impressionistic feel, with the originals from Hope exquisitely re-painted with extraordinary musicianship and sensitivity. Robbie Melville’s guitar work is outstanding throughout. Nat Bartsch’s pianism on every track is world-class, Maddison Carter excels on drums and cymbals, while Tamara Murphy’s double and electric basses are the solid backbone of all. This album is a beautiful, atmospheric reimagining, conveying renewed spontaneity and improvisatory freedom.