Norvik, aka Gabriel Chan, is a composer from Hong Kong. His new album, Echo Theory, takes into consideration our place in the Universe, from the smallest flower to the biggest star. Although we are tiny, beautiful things often come in small packages, and size doesn’t diminish our place or importance in the grand scheme of things: we are special, precious, breathing into the cosmic wonder of the Universe and sharing in its majesty, a part of a chapter in its ongoing story.
As Norvik says, ‘there is value to being humbled’, and the piano melodies are enraptured by the space in which we live. Atoms coalesce, eventually forming the biggest stars and growing like seeds to forge a blossoming Galaxy, of which there are billions and counting; where stars hang like stationary snowflakes, pinned to unending black.
Chan’s piano melodies are just as precious. Each one lights up like a star, and each one inhabits a lonely world. The ambient atmosphere pulls the piano into an orbit where it’s free to turn and swirl; a radiant ballet, and without the restrictive law of gravity to shackle it. The surrounding atmosphere, brought about by a vacuum of synth and a set of chiming electronics which flirt with new age music, is a dark expanse over which the piano may play.
Space is the ultimate playground, and in the piano, Chan adds a twinkle of colour, creating splashes of light which predate time, returning to the dawn of starlight and the Big Bang itself. At other times, such as ‘Sturmfrei’, a celestial ambient comes to take over, gleaming with a sci-fi sheen, like something from Halo. ‘Hiraeth’ is equally stunning, and the closing strings provide a comforting end. Exceptionally warm and delivered from the heart despite a pursuit of the monolithic, Chan’s music lights up the world and beyond.
What is life without emotion, and living without loving?
Chan’s music is emotional and mega in scale, but there’s a beautiful intimacy, too. The Universe may be vast beyond all measure, but the heart’s capacity for love is infinite, no matter how small its cage, aka, the body. Everything has a place, regardless of size. Inklings turn into dreams. Thousand-mile journeys begin with a single step. A butterfly spreads her wings in Asia and a hurricane sweeps through Florida. Everything and everyone starts somewhere, and there’s infinite value in that. There’s also something comforting in being so little; Earth’s children wrapped up in the spiral arms of the Milky Way, a mother to a child.