June 23rd, 2015 | Album reviews

Hymn to Freedom EP
Atonal Industries

Dorian Wood is an artist in the purest sense. From his music, performance art, operatic scores, and even the disturbing illustrations he creates, there is something divine in the way he presents himself. Seeing him perform is a revelation, or even something akin to a holy experience. His voice has a hauntingly beautiful quality to it that can resonate long after he leaves the room. In between work on his forthcoming studio album, Wood has decided to grace us with a little taste of what he has been working on in the form of the three-song live EP Hymn to Freedom. These songs, recorded live at the Blue Whale (arguably the best place to see jazz in Los Angeles right now) have such an intimate yet well-produced sound you would swear they were done in a studio. The title track finds Dorian Wood looking outward at all of the violence that has occurred in the United States at the hands of the police. With a dark and simple piano that builds and carries his poetic words, he has crafted a song that speaks of the anger, fear, hope, faith, and compassion that many Americans are contending with right now. It’s a very timely and profound ballad. Following this there is an amazing solo piano version of “La Cara Infinita” which was one of the singles from his previous release Rattle Rattle. The subdued nature of this version shows another side of the heavy and almost manic desperation that the original had. Closing out this live session is an amazing duet with Danny Graziani on viola for the track “Mirr’rd Song”—he composed the pieces for Dorian Wood’s chamber orchestra project last year. Overall, the delicate nature of these songs sheds new light on this multifaceted artist.

—Zachary Jensen