MACIE STEWART & LIA KOHL “Recipe for a Boiled Egg” (Astral Spirits)


MACIE STEWART & LIA KOHL “Recipe for a Boiled Egg” (Astral Spirits)
One glance at this thing before I pop it in reveals Lisa Kohl on “cello and voice” and Macie Stewart on “violin and voice,” and I’m like, “Right! Got it.” I know exactly how this is going to go – some kind of chamber orchestra thingee. Crack knuckles, lean back, let this review write itself.
As my desk chair slips out from underneath me and I crack my head on the floor (do NOT lean too far back in triumph in wheeled desk chairs), I’m met with Recipe for a Boiled Egg in all its glory, and despite all the promises to the contrary, I’m not finding any actual boiled egg recipes on this tape. (I guess just boil water, drop in egg, repeat? I’m not much of a cook.) Plucks and plunks punctuate “PERFECT (EVERY TIME),” accompanied by vocal arpeggios and righteous cello sawing. But that’s not the lane Stewart and Kohl stay in, and that’s what makes Recipe such an engaging listen. Even by the next track, “Open Winded,” the duo is stretching out harmonic notes as languid as the surface of a lake, resolving in delicate chord changes.
But that’s not all! They also play their stringed instruments as if they were percussive ones, all while allowing their voices and bows equal playing time. The playing is often electric, especially on the tempestuous “Screaming Tea” and madcap “The ‘Electric’ Slide,” while such flights are set against moments of relative calm and beauty, such as on tape closer “Song for Soft-Serve.” And food is a delightful theme throughout, as many titles refer back to eggs or other adjacent subjects (“Right Before Dinner,” “Rich, Sticky, Sweet,” etc.). So, basically, Recipe is the exact opposite of the classical tropes I’d imagined before hitting play, which made for a much more exciting listen. Drop your expectations, people!
Also, don’t worry – my head’s OK.