Ljova, Melting River (2012)

Whether working by himself or with his group the Kontraband, the New York-based violist and composer Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin is always worth checking in with. His latest offering Melting River is a collection of works originally commissioned by Canadian choreographer Aszure Barton for her work "Project XII." The pieces in Melting River evoke specific moods, from subtle agitation in "There You Have It" to placid tranquility in the title track to the dreamy whimsy interrupted by fits of tension in "Birds." Ljova once again shows his creativity and versatility as a composer; "Birds" holds up really well as a modern classical composition, and "Asha" is a quick, fun tango. A few of the tunes will leave you wanting to know the context, but most of the tracks on Melting River stand on their own just fine.

The album is available for download through the bandcamp site.

Overall grade: B+

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