Melaine Dalibert - Musique pour le lever du jour (CD)
French pianist/composer Melaine Dalibert's 2017 piano piece 'Musique pour le lever du jour' adopts slow tempi, leaving space for long resonances in which pentatonic coloring gradually modulate in all tones, resulting complex layers of direct tones, overtones, and prolonged reverberation, all organically subliming into rich sonorities with incredible harmonic clarity. Artwork by David Sylvian. 4-panel gatefold.
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Musique pour le lever du jour (2017) (1:01:33)
(July 9, 2018.)
To Stéphane Ginsburgh
Melaine Dalibert - piano and composition
recorded by Melaine Dalibert in Rennes, France in March 2018
mixed and mastered by Taku Unami
artwork by David Sylvian
design by Yuko Zama
produced by Yuko Zama
executive produced by Jon Abbey
(p) (c) 2018 elsewhere music
I first came to know Melaine Dalibert’s compositions and piano performances when I listened to his recital at Daniel Goode's Loft in SoHo NYC in January 2018, when he played piano pieces by Peter Garland, Michael Vincent Waller and Dalibert, including his 2017 piece 'Musique pour le lever du jour' which is featured on this album.
When Dalibert opened the recital with Garland’s 1971 piece ‘The Days Run Away’, I was astonished by his distinct, vibrant piano tones which brought out the fullness of the music with an incredible depth of concentration and introspective serenity. Each individual note of the piano felt so vital and substantial, with profound dimensions created by the afterglow of each note, opening outward and inward simultaneously, rejuvenating Garland’s meditative masterpiece.
In his 'Musique pour le lever du jour', Dalibert used sustained pedals to create complex layers of resonances, which was mesmerizingly well composed - as if I were watching a mirage of a minimal abstract watercolor work gradually emerging in the room. Despite that there were numerous sounds occurring in resonances, blending together in the harmonies, there was no hint of cloudiness - the clarity was striking. I also loved the touch of human warmth I felt in his piano tones, which felt like it was faintly emanating out of the frame of clean minimalism. After I posted my review on the concert, Dalibert contacted me and told me that he was looking for a label to put out his 'Musique pour le lever du jour' - the very piece I loved during the concert and was hoping to hear again. It was coincidentally around the same time when I discovered Biliana Voutchkova and Michael Thieke’s ‘Blurred Music’ and was considering to start my own label, so I almost instantly agreed to include this piece, which has captivated my mind hauntingly, as the second release from my label.
Dalibert recorded this piece at his home studio. I particularly love the warm, woody tones of his YAMAHA piano, in which I can feel the intimacy between the pianist and the piano that he developed during his career as a pianist and composer for the last twenty years, which seemed to add a special human touch and an organic feel to the sound here. We newly recorded the piece in this March for this album at a 24-bit rate with my engineer Taku Unami’s advice. The recording was fantastic, with the 24bits/96kHz master bringing out the subtle nuances of the translucent harmonies of the rich reverbs/overtones and the warmth of Dalibert’s piano fully, which feels close to what I heard and was amazed by during his live concert in NYC. (Yuko Zama)
Melaine Dalibert (born 1979), a French composer/pianist, has been increasingly recognized for his compositional piano works as well as his interpretations of works by Gérard Pesson, Giuliano D’Angiolini, Tom Johnson, Peter Garland and many others. Trained as a classical pianist in Rennes (where he teaches now), Dalibert studied a large repertoire of contemporary composers' works at the Paris Conservatories. Being involved with experimental music at a young age, Dalibert found a way to compose music through mathematical concepts.
Fascinated by natural phenomena which are both expected and unpredictable, and also inspired by the work of the Hungarian-born French media artist Véra Molnar, Dalibert has developed his own algorithmic procedures of composition which contain the notion of stretched time evoking Morton Feldman, minimal and introspective, adopting a unique concept of fractal series. His piano music has been released on two recordings to date: Quatre pièces pour piano, self-released in 2015, and Ressac, issued by Another Timbre in 2017.
'Musique pour le lever du jour' (title meaning 'Music for The Daybreak') was composed by Dalibert over two years and completed in 2017, with the concept being an ‘endless piece’ with no beginning or no ending. This one-hour piece adopts slow tempi, leaving meditative space for long resonances in which pentatonic coloring gradually modulate in all tones, resulting complex layers of soft direct tones, overtones, and prolonged reverberation, all organically subliming into rich sonorities with incredible harmonic clarity.
Peter Margasak, Bandcamp Daily
French pianist and composer Melaine Dalibert has gained attention for his performances of works by melodically oriented minimalists like Peter Garland and Michael Vincent Waller, but in the last couple of years his own compositions have been reaching a wider audience through his dazzling 2017 album on the British imprint Another Timbre, Ressac. Musique pour le lever du jour is his eagerly anticipated followup to Ressac, and like the pieces on that previous album, the hour-long titular work deploys algorithms as a structural tool, building what Dalibert calls “space-time blocks” to suggest the stretching and compression of time. The music also draws upon the unpredictability of the natural world, such as the way a drop of water triggers surprising ripples when it strikes a larger liquid body. This gorgeous epic unfolds slowly, with ringing overtones fusing but never muddying the foreground of the single-note patterns Dalibert continually spreads out. He considers it an “endless piece,” with no obvious beginning or end. Instead, the focus is placed upon how each delicate phrase follows the next, with lots of repetition and subtle phrase modifications producing a Morton Feldman-like splendor: restrained, ineffable, and gorgeous. In fact, it’s almost advisable to treat the performance as an immersive experience, savoring the unhurried melodic patterns and allowing the rich harmonic effects to wash over oneself as a kind of meditative bath. (July 6, 2018)
Michele Palozzo, Esoteros
I’m increasingly convinced that ‘minimalism’ cannot be defined as a style or an easy label: it is above all a forma mentis and, as a direct consequence, a modus operandi, capable of redefining the time of existence and art, both to be regarded as indissoluble entities. It’s this aspect that makes such essential music as rich as that of the Breton pianist and composer Melaine Dalibert, who in the space of a year has in fact found home to two independent labels of another profile: the English Another Timbre (“Ressac”, 2017) and now the newborn Elsewhere by Yuko Zama – producer and designer who has always been involved in the projects of the American label Erstwhile, directed by her partner Jon Abbey. The artwork for this second catalog number is signed by David Sylvian, an admirer of the radical avant-garde represented by them, and to which he now affers himself with his sporadic musical projects.
The bright horizon that deploys in Dalibert’s quiet scores could not be better described than with the image of a perpetual sunrise: and indeed there is no better time, in the space of twenty-four hours, to fully enjoy this glimmering splendor, where the reverberation of the rays of sun becomes tangible by means of the single keys ringing over the course of one long track, without any exception to what appears to be a discipline of the spirit as well as a precise choice of writing.
Similarly to the pianist R. Andrew Lee in his interpretation of November (1959), the fluvial minimalist prototype by the forgotten American pioneer Dennis Johnson, also Dalibert manages to alternate and perfectly juxtapose the sequences of iridescent tones on pentatonic scales, which by means of the resonance pedal always find new meeting points between the respective shadows that gradually diffuse all through the acoustic space.
Lulled and mesmerized by such a simple prodigy of contemporary expressiveness, in Musique pour le lever du jour are encountered more nuances than one would expect. Dedicated to the Belgian pianist Stéphane Ginsburgh, prestigious interpreter of Morton Feldman’s work and published by Sub Rosa, Melaine Dalibert’s suite adds another important element to the foundations laid in these years by the “composers of quiet” (Alex Ross), humble exponents of a ‘renaissance’ that still few recognize and appreciate but that perhaps, in retrospect, will leave a significant mark on the music to come. (1/1/2020)
Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
In essence, Dalibert's wonderful, hour-plus solo piano composition is a kind of process music, but one where its structural aspect can, if desired, be easily ignored, the listener perhaps choosing to simply be wafted along by the sumptuous, lingering tones.
One hears sets of single notes, evenly played. They arrive in sequences of 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9--I don't think there are any "5's" or anything greater than nine, but I could be mistaken. The sustain pedal is held down throughout. The rests between the phrases are, I believe, equivalent in seconds to the number of notes in the preceding phrase. The lengths of the phrases appear to occur randomly but are, in fact, generated by Dalibert's use of the Thue-Morse sequence, a mathematical theory well beyond my meager comprehension skills but one which, when used in certain ways, results in numbers that converge on the fractal curve known as the Koch Snowflake. There is a fine sense of repetition inextricably meshed with irregularity. The notes chosen, per Dalibert, "are only second major, third minor and fifth (or their reversal), in equal repartition so that the general color is diatonic, very slowly modulating."
What, then, does one hear? If I'm to make references, I sometimes think of it as halfway between a Tom Johnson work and the approach used by La Monte Young in parts of 'The Well-Tuned Piano', albeit without the retuning (!). There's a quasi-similar feeling of drifting, of floating while at the same time the soft rigor of the structure constrains too much wayward movement. The clearly struck notes (from a peek at a couple of pages from the score, often flatted) both stand forthright and, via the sustain, effervesce and dissolve into one another. Within each sequence, the notes tend to follow a similar pattern, enough so that it always feels familiar, perhaps previously heard, but really just slightly different; the same general environs but via differing glances. Also barely heard, but always a plus for this listener, is the distant sound of a street and what seems to be flowing water, as though from rain down a gutter; I love the sense of immersion this provides.
The music itself is watery--apparently clear on the surface, disappearing when examined very closely. One can listen to the structure, try to grasp its fractal nature or can just surrender and be borne along, irritation setting in only when the disc ends. In the interim, one floats.
Excellent, intelligent and rapturous work. (8/8/2018)
John Eyles, All About Jazz
A classically-trained pianist who now teaches in Rennes, Dalibert still has a comparatively small discography; before Musique pour le lever du jour his most notable releases were solo and trio realisations of chamber pieces by Paris-based Italian composer Guiliano d'Angiolini on Cantilena (Another Timbre, 2016), and solo piano recordings of two of his own compositions on Ressac (Another Timbre, 2017). As the dates suggest, Dalibert is on a roll, which makes the current album timely and welcome.
The music consists of a solo piano realisation of the title composition, which lasts over sixty-one minutes. As on Ressac Dalibert uses the piano's sustain pedal most of the time, so that notes resound long after they are struck. Rather than playing single notes and waiting for each to die away, Dalibert plays notes close together in clusters of five, six or seven so that the first of the cluster is still resounding when the last is played; he only plays another cluster when the last note of the previous one is close to fading away. Therein lies one of the album's main fascinations; the piece is continuous without any significant silences, but for the majority of the time the listener is hearing the overlapping notes resounding and interacting in subtly different ways as they fade away.
Dalibert has selected the notes of each cluster so that the resounding notes combine well, often producing overtones and occasional shimmering effects. The notes are so well chosen that the entire piece feels like an object lesson in harmony, not in a dry, academic way but a far more enjoyable one. Clusters are occasionally repeated without losing their impact. Recorded at Dalibert's home, the entire album feels welcoming and intimate, the kind of piece that cries out to be played again and again. This album's title, which translates as Music for the Daybreak, is ideally suited to the optimistic feel of the music itself and to an album launching a new label.
On the basis of Elsewhere's first two releases—and the next three which will feature Jürg Frey, Clara de Asis and Stefan Thut, respectively—the label already looks to be an impressive presence in the areas of modern composition, improvisation, innovation and experimentation. Elsewhere is a label to watch, for sure.
Roger Batty, Musique Machine
Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour( Music For The Daybreak) is a soothing, hypnotic, though slightly melancholic solo piano work. Over it’s just over hour runtime we get a series of repetitive/ simplistic notation that has a fairly harmonic & hopeful flavor to them- all of this creates both the feeling of slow changing grandeur, and the longing mystery & sadness of time its self.
This release comes in the form of a CD- and it’s the first release on New Jersey-based label Elsewhere Music- whose mission statement is to release contemporary work which has classical music aesthetics at its roots, but may not strictly belong to the area of contemporary classical music. The release comes in mini gatefold- this features different colored & different thickness lines, and black pyramid shapes against a dark blue background- all nicely creating an abstract, yet effective bit of packaging.
I first became aware of this French pianist/composers work with last years Ressac ( on Another Timbre)- this release highlighted the Frenchman’s ability to create starkly beautiful & haunting piano music- that had both mood & melody, without been in any way twee or contrived. And I’m pleased to report that Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour is up to the same standard & quality of Ressac.
The piece finds Dalibert playing out a series of simplistic & repeated notation- these initially have a fairly hopeful, warming & pleasing feel to them. But over time & repetition, they start to become more melancholic, forlorn & haunting. The patterns are played in a fairly steady mid-range speed- though there are effective pauses after each cycle, and these are nicely dipped with moody drifting reverb. Throughout the patterns remain fairly fixed in their harmonic pitter/ patter- lacking say the more angular moments of a Feldman composition, but instead brought to mind the same vibe of say William Basinski work- but of course without the tape decay/ manipulation.
I’d say as a work Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour is more sparser piano ambience than modern classical minimalism. And I must say it’s rather pleasing & soothing in it unfolds- but what makes it most interesting is the way the repetition seems to shift the mood from fairly bright & hopefully, to slight more forlorn & sad setting. I’m looking forward to hearing more work from Dalibert, and this new label too- as they clearly have a great ear for selecting work to put out.
Dionys Della Luce, Inactuelles, musiques singulières
1:01:33 : c'est la durée de la dernière composition du pianiste et compositeur Melaine Dalibert. Après Quatre pièces pour piano (2015) et Ressac (2017), il poursuit son exploration des formes liées à une écriture algorithmique, cette fois une forme un peu plus longue encore que les presque cinquante minutes de la pièce éponyme du second enregistrement. La composition est constituée de motifs de deux à neuf notes, entrecoupés de silences relatifs, dans la mesure où la pédale enveloppe l'ensemble d'un halo spectral d'harmoniques. Le tempo semble stable, les motifs reviennent, s'entrelacent, à tel point qu'on n'est jamais certain d'entendre les mêmes séquences, ce qui crée une impression de flottement, d'irréalité. Chaque motif devient alors comme l'équivalent de l'une de ces images du monde flottant chères à la tradition japonaise du mono no aware, « l'empathie envers les choses ». C'est ainsi peut-être que se comprend le titre, Musique pour le lever du jour : musique pour que le jour se lève, il incomberait à la musique cette tâche primordiale de nous délivrer de la nuit. Ce serait l'aube indécise, cette zone frontière entre la nuit et le jour, avant que le soleil ne sorte ses rayons. La musique est une incantation, elle appelle le soleil, elle le précède. Elle est hiératique, elle se tient sur le seuil ; en même temps elle est nimbée du monde des rêves auxquels elle adhère encore, prisonnière de l'ancestrale fascination de la nuit. Elle est désir d'éveil, et nostalgie de l'ombre engourdissante, dissolvante. Aussi ne cesse-t-elle de se lancer, essaie-t-elle de prendre des aspects claironnants, mais une timidité la retient, une pudeur, si bien qu'elle se tait. Elle se sent bien, là, tranquille. Elle se voit bien se substituant et à la nuit et au jour, pour toujours, dans l'abolition de la course du temps qu'elle suspend indéfiniment. Sur le seuil, dans la semi-obscurité ou le demi-jour, elle vit son heure de gloire, inaugurale et souveraine de l'éphémère. Le piano est devenu portique de cloches ivres de sonner encore et encore et de s'écouter ré-sonner. Plus rien n'a d'importance, que le son produit par la frappe, sa propagation qui instaure le temps véritable, le temps pur d'avant les horloges, non froidement mesuré mais sensible. Un temps humble, succession d'attaques/frappes et de lents déclins, chargé déjà des souvenirs proches des notes précédentes, un temps qui baigne comme un peu au-dessus de sa naissance et de sa mort renaissante, un temps qui lévite dans l'abolition de toute presse. Le pianiste est ce nouveau Narcisse se mirant dans les rides du bassin limpide qu'il frappe et refrappe, fasciné, amoureux de l'image sonore annonciatrice de la pleine lumière à venir, trop heureux de s'en tenir là cependant dans l'enfantin plaisir des recommencements délicieux, de la réitération jamais tout à fait la même, toujours quelque peu imprévisible, chargée parfois de bruits à la limite du perceptible venus de très loin ou de tout près (eaux lointaines, frottements sur les touches, etc. liés à l'enregistrement ?) qui lui confèrent une épaisseur émouvante justement parce qu'elle approfondit encore l'à peine dansante apparition/disparition du son instrumental et de sa traîne d'harmoniques enchevêtrées, feutrées par la tonalité mate du piano. En somme, cette heure nous conduit à savourer l'évanescente beauté multiple de l'éphémère, à nous perdre en elle pour nous ressourcer. Paradoxe pour une musique "savante"... ce qui précède rendant compte comme d'habitude du point de vue de l'auditeur. Pour en savoir plus sur les intentions du concepteur, vous trouverez la référence d'un entretien en anglais avec Melaine Dalibert plus loin.
Le soleil acceptera-t-il enfin de se lever ? Serons-vous vraiment prêts ? Et si nous restions là, dans l’écoute perpétuelle de l’aube indécise ? (10/29/2018)