Release Date: Thursday, at Conor Byrne, 9 p.m.
Seattle-based Lijie is a classically trained pianist who spends 36 minutes on her new record, The Music Maker, shoving her substantial instrumental and vocal chops through the prism of a pop record. The result is an easy-listening, ambitious effort that demonstrates both here impressive vocal range and disciplined focus on her own ideas.The Music Maker is one of the rare local records that has no feel for indie, not a hint of folk, and no sign of the garage, influences that abound in Seattle these days. In that sense, it's refreshing that she can exist in this atmosphere, and not take talking points from it.
On the other hand, this polished record sometimes flirts with piano recital territory, and could stand for a smear of the grit and soot that can be found along Ballard Avenue -- where she debuts her record at Conor Byrne, Thursday -- every night of the week.