Olivier Alary put this out in March on 130701, an imprint of FatCat “releasing landmark post-classical records since 2001.”
Definite congruence with Johansson, Arnalds, Frahm, the Touch label lot, etc. – power in frailty, but OA largely sidesteps the main problem of that group: a sort of fatigue of delicacy. Strings and pianos yes, but deep horns too, (breathy airborne sax on ‘Flooding’, Stetson tones on ‘Juanicas’) and other bits.
Also Mica Levi (bells and negative space on ‘Juanicas’), Jonny Greenwood (titles from TWBB would fit here – ‘Open Spaces’, ‘Proven Lands’), Ryuichi Sakamoto – this is actually, unsurprisingly, a collection of score pieces.
Also post-rockers. (Erik Hove etc. and “many other musicians from the hyper-dynamic Montreal music scene” featured) Vinyl crackle on ‘The Dreaming’: playing a mothballed piano in an abandoned childhood home. Soaring weeping guitar drones and racing cymbal flutter on ‘Nollywood’ exemplifying that definition of the ‘genre’ as repurposing rock instrumentation for more abstract and expansive ends.
(As with that Stromboli record forging alloys between sibling styles, but here less transforming them into something new than revealingly excavating their similarities)
Gongs on ‘Qin’ and the polyrhythmic Rileyish cycles on ‘Pulses (For Winds)’ and ‘(For Percussion)’ grow and blend East Asian elements harmoniously with the delicate piano work popular in Europe (Frahm et al.) and the general western cinematic mood (read something about the Fiction of the title pertaining to the imagined spaces created by globally incongruous instruments, which does throw up some productive comparisons, as in the various strings and pipes on ‘Yu Shui’).
Often a sense of foreboding and possibility, weight. Easy to prefer this kind of gestural figuration to the self-contained, ludic post-Satie exercises of the European neoclassical luminaries. Imagined landscapes and stories; daydreaming in the Ikea easy chair.
Elegant and beautiful to wander round in but melts away afterwards.