Lili Haydn's new Private Music release "Light Blue Sun," produced by Bill Laswell, is a refreshing blend of pop, electronica, world, jazz and classical elements. That looks a bit like the kitchen sink in print, but the disparate styles meld together nicely. The music appeals sometimes to your heart and other times to your feet, managing not to insult your brain in the process. Guests such as Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and George Clinton all make brief but crucial appearances.
Lili Haydn is an accomplished and extraordinarily well traveled violinist. Not yet 30, she's worked with such seemingly incongruous artists as the Rolling Stones and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Christina Aguilera. Bill Laswell--no stranger to incongruity himself, having brokered such seemingly unlikely combinations as Archie Shepp and Whitney Houston and Bootsy Collins and William S. Burroughs--is the perfect producer for violinist/singer Haydn, the pair sharing a similarly holistic vision of music, grounded in the present but steeped in the past and looking to the future. The songs range from the relatively upbeat, melodic--well, you can pretty much assume the word melodic in the description of any song here--breathy pop of "Come Here," to the melancholy longing of "Denied" (featuring Mrs. Coltrane's lovely piano introduction) to the otherworldly, new-age funkadelia of "The Promised Land" with Clinton's spoken introduction and the trademark sound of Mr. Sanders' tenor saxophone.
This is thinking person's pop, a musical stew blending drum and bass with Dvorak and the traditional music of India and China. This CD deserves to be heard and should certainly become a favorite on public radio. More intense than the likes of Enya, more real than Madonna, and miles ahead of most everything else, Lili Haydn's "Light Blue Sun" provides reassurance that popular music can still be meaningful.