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Kalia Vandever, 'Temper the Wound'

Dreams can be an infinite source of grist for the mill of artistic expression. Trombonist Kalia Vandever credits much of her mesmerizing new album of improvisations, We Fell in Turn, to the Hawaiian ancestral spirit guides who visit her dreams. They've been helping her recall childhood memories, which the resourceful musician has turned into lush, billowing meditations. If you've ever taken flight in your dreams, a track like "Temper the Wound" (and many others on the album) could be a fitting soundtrack. Vandever's trombone interleaves loops with gentle, whirling melodies that circle above a drone of luminous air. The reverent stillness and meditative vibe recalls the late Pharoah Sanders' collaboration with Floating Points.

Brooklyn-based Vandever has played with Harry Styles and Japanese Breakfast, and has led her own bands, but this solo album finds her opening herself up to unalloyed vulnerability with striking results. Vandever says the music comes "from the intangible feeling of waking up from vivid dreams, particularly the experience of falling right before waking." While falling might constitute a nightmare for some, the music, with its warm purr, seems to spiral delicately upward to a safer space. If there is such a thing as "trom-drone" music, Vandever has just created it.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.