Album review



Sonna Records, 2024

Text: Robin Boer

Elsiris, a trio led by Belgian pianist and composer Jasmien Geijsels (born in 1994), emerged from her deep dedication to piano, which began at the tender age of nine. Geijsels honed her skills at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, earning a master’s degree in Jazz piano in 2020. Her mentor during this journey was the renowned pianist and composer Diederik Wissels.

Beyond her musical pursuits, Geijsels ventured into teaching, and it was during this time that Elsiris took shape. As the main composer and piano player, Geijsels collaborated with Élie Goulème on drums and Pierre-Antoine Savoyat on flugelhorn and FX.

Album art: Myriam Thomas

Thanks to their partnership with Sonna Records, Elsiris unveiled their debut album, Imprints, adorned with captivating artwork by glass artist Myriam Thomas. The album’s pieces bear names inspired by fictional characters, each reflecting a distinct personality that evolves alongside the music. Nature’s profound influence permeates their compositions—a timely connection in our present era.

On the title track, Geijsels’ deft piano accents engage in a rhythmic dialogue with Goulème’s skillful brushwork, creating seamless cohesion. Meanwhile, Diederik Wissels contributes soundscapes, adding depth to the track Helena II, complementing the trio’s music. And in the extended piece Mathilde, Tsai-Wen Hui’s haunting vocals blend spoken word and singing, serving the evolving soundscape flawlessly.

The album Hatidze blends Turkish influences, transitioning smoothly between composed themes and a free, mystical drone-based build-up. The ambient sounds in Window Weather create a soothing collage, occasionally accompanied by piano.

The final part features the conclusion of the opening piece, August, followed by the beautiful melodic track Points of Compass, where Geijsels shines on both piano and lead vocals. Despite the limitations of a trio using only three acoustic instruments, Elsiris offers a rich palette of mood and melodies.

Photos: Olympe Tits

Clocking in at over fifty-five minutes, the album takes listeners on a well-conducted journey, blurring the line between sound and silence. The spacious arrangement allows piano chords and percussion to create a soft bed for the flugelhorn’s organic, melancholic melodies.

The trio’s tight performance and mastery of dynamic range make for an organic and captivating musical experience. For optimal enjoyment, listen with high-quality headphones or on a proper hi-fi system in a silent, semi-dark room, savoring the depth and richness of this music.

  • For more information about Elsiris, click here.
  • For more information about Jasmien Geijsels, click here.
  • For more information about Sonna Records, click here.
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