Melaine Dalibert - Cheminant (elsewhere 007) Lossless
Lossless Digital AIFF (16bit/44k)
This is French composer/pianist Melaine Dalibert's third solo piano album, following his well-received 2018 album 'Musique pour le lever du jour' (elsewhere 002) and 2017 album 'Ressac' (at111). Artwork by David Sylvian, design by Yuko Zama.
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Music in an octave (excerpt 1) / Percolations (excerpt 2)
Melaine Dalibert - Cheminant (elsewhere 007)
1. Music in an octave (2018) 13:15
- for David Sylvian
2. Percolations (for right hand) (2018) 5:30
- for Yuko Zama
3. From zero to infinity (2019) 4:36
- for Peter Garland
4. Cheminant (2018) 21:24
- for Reinier van Houdt
5. Étude II (2017) 11:13
all compositions and piano by Melaine Dalibert
recorded by Herve Jegaden and David Launay at HD Studio
in Saint Maugan, Brittany, France in February 2019
mixed and mastered by Taku Unami
mixing advice by David Sylvian
artwork by David Sylvian
design by Yuko Zama
produced by Yuko Zama
special thanks to: David Sylvian and Cyril Jollard
p+c 2019 elsewhere music
'Cheminant' contains a diverse array of Melaine Dalibert's unique compositions for solo piano, ranging from the up-tempo rhythmic 'Percolations' performed masterfully by Dalibert's right hand, to the slow, prolonged meditative 'Music in an octave' and 'Cheminant', to the kaleidoscopic 'Étude II' with the repetitive hammered chords, and lastly his latest piece 'From zero to infinity' dedicated to post-minimal composer Peter Garland.
All five pieces were composed by Dalibert in 2017-2019, reflecting his current interest in questioning how the harmonic shifts could affect the listening experience with subtly evolving chords through a scale or different tones, creating a similar state to vertigo. Diverse as they may seem, all five pieces attain delicately balanced harmonization of rich layers of the woody, warm direct tones of the piano, overtones and resonances, blended to form a complex harmonic beauty exquisitely delivered with Dalibert's virtuosic piano techniques.
"The myriad and pulsing tones imbuing a church bell sounding"
There is no composer more completely enraptured by sonority than Melaine Dalibert, but his simplicity can be deceptive. These piano pieces, written between 2017 and 2019, are no mere exercises in motion and stasis, though both evolve and revolve within each work, often evoking that elusive and liquid moment when day becomes night. Dalibert has achieved the remarkable feat of presenting the tonal language as both traditionally referential and “other,” rendering it both absolutely relevant and somehow piquantly obsolete.
Motion, or lack thereof, or maybe it’s motion’s strange and elaborately masked bedfellow, the one we call repetition when no other word will suffice, solidifies the fluid worlds of Dalibert’s harmonies. Unlike previous releases on Another Timbre and Elsewhere, we are afforded the opportunity to hear his language unfold in pithy miniature, as on the surprisingly brisk “Percolations,” dedicated to Elsewhere curator and owner Yuko Zama. Pointing out post-Ligetian pitch addition, minimalist rhythmic tendencies or shifting harmonic anchors straight out of progressive rock’s heyday would be far too pedestrian, not to mention a bit of a blow below the belt, but listen to those harmonies and rhythms evolve! Each note becomes an anchor, and the piece moves quickly enough so that each anchor becomes one note in something approaching the melodic complexity of counterpoint. The fact that Dalibert brings the whole thing back to the open fifth on which it began is as astonishing as the harmonic byways he explores to get there. Dalibert’s performance — he’s a wonderful pianist — is rife with subtle accents, and whether or not they’re in the score, they give this piece written solely for the right hand additional layers of rhythmic and tonal complexity. “From Zero to Infinity”’s range is even further simplified as it climbs from two opening pitches toward a colorful chord both familiar and alien in its near non-resolution, but again, each tone becomes an internal voice as almost-melodies mutate in overtonal kaleidoscope.
What I am not articulating is paramount to the listening experience, and it isn’t for lack of an attempt. What chance does the willing and able listener really have of describing a waterfall’s sonic layers, or the myriad and pulsing tones imbuing a church bell sounding? To these ears, the disc’s standout composition is the absolutely spellbinding “Music in an Octave.” Someone should put together an analysis of this glacially moving study in sonority type, something along the lines of related chord groups and the permeable boundaries of tonal center. Even having said that, they do not add up to the effect this masterpiece of churchy textures manages with every aggregate’s bite, bloom and decay. Those open to experiences of the mystical variety may be at home in this luminescent garden of flickering upper partial flame. The piano is recorded and mixed in such a way that the various components of each tone foreground themselves even as they evaporate, but they only constitute the minutia of a form closer in large-scale intent to a movement from one of Roland Kayn’s vast electroacoustic canvasses. Both composers relish note implications as they manifest along a superficially facile but secretly serpentine path. The recording is of the utmost importance. Only recently are piano timbres being captured so that each detail, even those normally imperceptible in the concert hall, is placed front and center in the listener’s perception.
It is fitting that David Sylvian is credited with mixing advice. As Dalibert has radicalized harmony, surreptitiously building internal melodies of its components, Sylvian has radicalized melody by deftly and completely recontextualizing it, casting it in an entirely new landscape of timbre and tone. Cheminant inhabits territory similar to Sylvian’s quietly groundbreaking Manafon, on which tonality is also present but, remarkably, absented, or perhaps absented, negating itself in long-range. Would it be too bold to suggest that a collaboration between these two musical visionaries might be in order?
(Marc Medwin, Dusted Magazine on 9/10/2019)