11 Amanda GookinForward Music Project 2.0 – in this skin
Amanda Gookin
Bright Shiny Things BSTC 0156 (brightshiny.ninja)

Having enjoyed the first release of cellist Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project 1.0, I was richly rewarded by its sequel. From the front cover, with a photo of Gookin perilously close to cutting her own tongue with a pair of scissors, we know this CD means business. “… in this visceral journey towards radical expression… This flesh is where we live… We are powerful in this skin.” 

In this second installment of FMP, four more composers are invited, not as guests, but as the key tellers of the layers and complexities of women’s stories, each in their own way. Gookin takes each one as a precious gift, playing them with perfection and ferocity that makes clear her undeniable belief and dedication to every word. Translated sonically through her cello and her own vocals, with occasional added voices and electronics, there is simply no track to be missed. Paola Perstini’s To Tell A Story was in itself a fascinating journey of how the power of storytelling can be misused and appropriated, with sound artist Sxip Shirey’s backdrop of an 1983 interview with Susan Sontag creating brilliant sonic graffiti. 

Not only executed with stunning prowess, Gookin’s dedication to each composer’s voice channels the direct, hard-hitting messages of the compositions, her virtuosity powerfully propelling them even further, reminding us that these are all our stories to be told. She delivers them with authenticity, never taking over. This is not an ego project. This is cello playing at its height; delivering art.

Forward Music Project is an undertaking that continues to leave me breathless.

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