Review: Liz Christine – Sweet Mellow Cat

Displacement and replacement. Liz Christine’s music is like a warm, cosy commune for loops and motifs that have broke free from their source, be it sickly romantic movie score or the playful mews from a cat’s tiny vocal cords. Here they find themselves in unlikely but welcoming company, tacked untidily together into rhythms that jerk as patchworked fixed vinyl grooves; water running over muffled speech, summertime jig marrying flurries of glistening bell. It’s a musique concrete of sorts, albeit one with the hard edges of transition softened by a warm acoustic glue running across the seams, adopting the form of viscous major key goo made from piano, strings and electronics.

Despite its soft edges and gentle melodic vocabulary, the relentless shift would perhaps feel alienating were it not for its one central constant: an open, fragmented conversation between Christine and cats. She makes gentle declarations to the cute acknowledgement of miaows and feline whines, as if finding emotional solace in their peaceful, attentive form of listening. I too find anchorage in the constant reprisal of the cat’s call; not just for the homely reliability of response, but for the knowledge that I have a companion in the curious venture into the ever-changing. Even as the album hits turbulence – stormy weather, aggressive alarms, water sloshing as the soundscape swerves on its axis – the cat is always there, calmly sending probing yelps into the immediate future.