Esther Y.W.Wong, a registered music therapist, a multi-instrumentalist and a composer based in Hong Kong. Inspired by music around the world and all her travelling experiences, her style of music blends the modern with the traditional. Cat S.Y. Chau who has worked in social welfare since 1997 is the first registered music therapist in Hong Kong with a social work degree. She is experienced in providing music therapy service with various needs. Together they are the founders of a pioneering organization in Hong Kong called ImprovFusic, which was established in 2018 to cultivate community building and promote mental health, using music to connect people and share the joy of music interaction and self-expression.
Last November they released the 9 track album, entitled “The TaleTeller” which blends acoustic and electronic instruments in a patchwork of colorful musical motifs, each telling their own story. ImprovFusic are wonderful music artists. If you enjoy world music, ambient, or new age music, then you will love this album.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: Listening to “The TaleTeller” for the first time is an experience. The second you hear the opening bars begin on “The Great Venture” you know there’s a journey ahead of you. It’s not until you fully immerse yourself a couple of tracks later, however, that you realize how beautiful that journey is.
At their best, ImprovFusic channels a soul soothing, calming presence throughout the album. The musicians, therapists and backpackers, show how deeply affecting their music is as they combine traditional instruments and modern flair. Their attention to mood-inducing tone and timbre is simply stunning; the focus deftly changing from calm to climactic, and wistful to triumphant.
The music is heavily world fusion based, so attention is especially paid to traditional acoustic instrumentation, some of which Wong and Chau have collected around the world. Throughout “The TaleTeller” you will hear instruments such as the Rav Vast, Tabla, Frame Drum, Udu Drum, Slaptop Cajon, Sansula, Wind and Strings instruments from around the world, as well as different kinds of synthesizers.
The sounds of these instruments weave in and out of soundscapes painted by layers of interchanging melodic and rhythmic patterns. The music is so easy on the ear that that you could easily forget that you’re actually concentrating on listening to the album. And that’s the catch.
ImprovFusic creates music that feeds the soul just as much as it pleases the ear. It never attempts to command your attention but rather leans towards captivating it. “The TaleTeller” is as much of a spiritual experience as it is a musical one, ultimately this only makes the album stronger as a whole.
The underlying beauty found in tracks such as “The Heart Journey”, “The Flying Dream” and “The Transformer” is simply undeniable. Perhaps the best track here is “The Ocean Fable” which can only be described as jaw-dropping. It’s easily one of the most triumphant moments, forging a life-affirming, climactic melody.
All around though, the interweaving melodies are as captivating as ever, if not more so, and the production makes sure the finer sonic details don’t get lost in the mix. It’s the kind of music that’s perfect for sitting back and letting your mind take you wherever ImprovFusic are wanting you to go.
Esther Y.W.Wong and Cat S.Y. Chau ease you into the musical wonderlands they create as each track rises up gracefully and majestically. This melting pot of atmospheres, entrancing rhythms and melodies is juxtaposed against the visionary explorations of two very gifted and perceptive musicians.