This album by Nerissa is a collection of her own mystical compositions of dreamy, somewhat touching, and spiritual instrumental pieces played by her alone on electric harp and mellotron. The first thing I would say is that it will probably have limited appeal to purveyors of this website mainly because it cannot, even with the wildest imagination, be construed as being progressive rock. Such a statement doesn’t mean that there is no audience appeal for this kind of “New Age Hypnotic Style” music which in fact would probably be attractive to people working on projects involving film sound tracks or those people looking for total relaxation and chill out situations. The closest comparison to my mind would be Mike Oldfield’s – Hergest Ridge The second thing I would say is that I am pleased I persevered with this music after I had honestly dismissed it as being quite monotonous. My subsequent plays of this album, needed for this review, opened my mind to some nice counter melodies and quite beautiful composition with rigorous and focused harp runs and a mixture of sombre, eerie and colourful mellotron chord sequences with interesting fills. From my own listening experience of this album, the music in my opinion, is somewhat varied comprising of some nice moments of listening pleasure and other periods where the music seems somewhat repetitive and quite staid. But as mentioned earlier it took me quite some time and several successive plays to get into this and to tune in my brain towards the pleasurable side of this quite dark and foreboding music and to understand where and what platform Nerissa was standing on during the composition process.
I discovered a fairly lengthy and I would say spot on press realise on her website for which I make no excuse reproducing here in italics:-
“Nerissa Schwarz has been writing and recording genre-defying songs and instrumental music for the better part of ten years. Following a collaboration for her 2009 debut album under the moniker of Coronal Rain, Nerissa was invited to join the internationally acclaimed progressive rock band Frequency Drift as guest composer and musician for their 2011 release Ghosts.
She soon became a band member and started contributing her own songs and unusual electric harp arrangements, which have become a trademark of Frequency Drift. So far, Nerissa has recorded five albums with the band and performed live in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy.
In 2014 she began working on solo pieces and totally immersed herself in writing, experimenting, arranging, recording and producing the music. The result is her first solo album, Playgrounds Lost” Performed entirely on electric harp and mellotron, Playgrounds Lost is a haunting exploration of the beauty, fragility and traumas of childhood. As it shifts between pastoral moments and dark, uncanny textures, the music progresses from folk-like melodies to noise, from ambient soundscapes to intricate, impressionistic compositions.
The unconventional sound design and cinematic atmospheres of Playgrounds Lost make for an immersive listening experience.
Written, arranged, produced and performed by Nerissa Schwarz (electric harp, melodeon)”
Summary: An intense and very difficult to categorise suite of music played entirely on harp and mellotron which requires several plays to appreciate the passion and complexity behind the intentions of the composer particularly with track titles such as “Dance Around A Black Hole”
Cover art: Digipack style cover with minimal information.
¥ Dance around black hole.
¥ Running Out.
¥ Last Spring.
¥ Yellow Skies.
¥ Something Behind Trees.
¥ No More Games.
¥ Playground Lost.