Melaine Dalibert - Infinite Ascent (CD)
French composer/pianist Melaine Dalibert wrote eight new pieces in 2019-2020 and recorded them in December 2019 at the chapel of the Rennes Conservatory in France. This is his fifth solo CD of his own compositions.
The album title 'Infinite Ascent' was conceived by David Sylvian who also contributed his artwork for the album cover.
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1. Introduction (2:35)
2. Flux / Reflux (5:45)
3. Grasses in Wind (1:39)
4. Lullaby (4:08)
5. Litanie (4:48)
6. Horizon (5:50)
7. Piano Loop (3:25)
8. Song (5:02)
(release date: November 11, 2020)
all compositions and piano by Melaine Dalibert
recorded by Melaine Dalibert at the chapel of the Rennes Conservatory, in France on December 11, 2019
mixed and mastered by Taku Unami
artwork by David Sylvian
design by Yuko Zama
produced by Yuko Zama
p+c 2020 elsewhere music
This is French composer/pianist Melaine Dalibert’s fifth solo album since 2015, all featuring his own compositions. This time, the album consists of melodically structured song pieces, an area that Dalibert has been exploring in the last couple of years as a new compositional approach outside his signature algorithmic method of composition. This series of eight short pieces appeal in a new way from his previous music, and shows his maturity as a composer. Dalibert wrote all eight pieces in 2019 and recorded them in December 2019 on a Steinway at the chapel of the Rennes Conservatory where he teaches.
"I wouldn't have thought it two years ago, but I started to step aside from my algorithmic systems to write very intuitive music, kind of pop-songs. It is surely a transient phase, but it seems to me to be necessary so as not to lock myself into certain procedures. It’s very important for me to feel free to write outside of any academy or tradition.” - Melaine Dalibert
‘Litanie’, one of the most evocative pieces on this album, was world premiered by Serbian-American Paris-based pianist Ivan Ilić in October 2019 at Bargemusic in NYC.
The album title 'Infinite Ascent' was conceived by David Sylvian who also contributed his artwork for the album cover, in addition to the two album covers of Dalibert’s previous solo CDs ‘Musique pour le lever du jour’ and ‘Cheminant’ on Elsewhere Music, for which he dedicated two other artworks.
"On listening to the album for first time I felt what I’d describe, for want of better terminology, a 'cosmic expansiveness'. Vibrational waves traversing the universe, a lone satellite, released from earth’s gravitational pull, spinning infinitely into the bright darkness. I ascribed to it a somewhat solitary migration. Not despite, but because of this, I found it a profoundly moving listening experience." - David Sylvian
John Eyles, All About Jazz
Of Elsewhere's first fourteen album releases, four feature French pianist and composer Melaine Dalibert, as do the label's first two download-only singles released in March 2020. On his previous release on the label, Anastassis Philippakopoulos: piano pieces, Dalibert was playing compositions by the Wandelweiser member named in the title, but on Infinite Ascent he has returned to playing his own compositions as he did on Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour (Elsewhere, 2018) and Cheminant (Elsewhere, 2019). The contrasts between the music on his four Elsewhere albums serve to illustrate Daliberrt's versatility and the evolution of his playing and composing. Infinite Ascent—an evocative title conceived by David Sylvian, who also contributed the cover art—comprises eight pieces ranging in length from about one-minute-and-a-half to almost six minutes, thirty-four minutes altogether.
On his shift away from extended compositions such as the hour-long title piece of Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour Dalibert has commented, "I wouldn't have thought it two years ago, but I started to step aside from my algorithmic systems to write very intuitive music, kind of pop-songs. It is surely a transient phase, but it seems to me to be necessary so as not to lock myself into certain procedures. It's very important for me to feel free to write outside of any academy or tradition." Compared to the spacious, deliberate, resounding music of the hour-long piece, these compositions are far fuller and brisker. While they may not match Dalibert's description "kind of pop-songs," it is easy to see his point as they are more up-tempo and melodic, maybe even "catchy." Interestingly, "Maelstrom" (YouTube below), one of the Dalibert singles, was recorded in December 2019 at the Infinite Ascent sessions but Melaine decided not to include it on the album as he thought it was a bit different from the other 'song-themed' pieces. However, despite the stylistic contrasts between different Melaine pieces, they are all part of the same rich tapestry. (10/30/2020)
Eyal Hareuveni, The Free Jazz Collective
Infinite Ascent is the fifth solo album of French pianist-composer Melaine Dalibert since 2015, all featuring his own compositions. This album consists of eight intuitive and melodic songs, an area that Dalibert has been exploring in the last years as a new compositional strategy outside his signature algorithmic method of composition. Dalibert sees this phase of composing “kind of pop songs” as a transient, but a necessary one”, as he wanted to feel free to write outside of any academy or tradition.
Infinite Ascent was recorded at the chapel of the Rennes Conservatory, where Dalibert teaches, in December 2019. The album title was conceived by David Sylvian who also contributed his artwork for the album cover. Sylvian adds that he felt “a 'cosmic expansiveness'” when he listened to Infinite Ascent for the first time. “Vibrational waves traversing the universe, a lone satellite, released from earth’s gravitational pull, spinning infinitely into the bright darkness”.
Dalibert’s songs offer an evocative sense of mysterious, introspective drama. These kinds of dramas are sometimes intensified with slowly shifting, repetitive strong melodic motives, often associated with Philip Glass aesthetics, as on the haunting “Horizon”, released as a single of this album, or “Song”. But more often Dalibert opts for a contemplative mode of playing as on the meditative “Lullaby” or the beautiful “Litanie”, premiered by Serbian-American Paris-based pianist Ivan Ilić in October 2019. (12/19/2020)
Dionys Della Luce, Inactuelles Musiques Singulières
When Inspiration transports minimalism!
Pianist and composer Melaine Dalibert from Rennes (biographical note here) confided to me about his fifth solo album: "My latest album is undoubtedly more instinctive than the previous ones. "Composed in 2019 and recorded in December of the same year on a Steinway piano in the chapel of the Conservatory of Rennes where he teaches, these eight pieces are indeed less apparently built on mathematical procedures such as algorithms. Nevertheless, in spite of their melodic core and expressiveness, they have a minimalist perspective, which excludes neither lyricism nor a form of harmonic grace.
"Introduction" combines the fluidity of tightly repeated notes in strumming with the dramatic counterpoint of low notes that powerfully chant this vigorous entrance, whose elongated loops draw a short, haunting melody.
As its title indicates, "Flux / Reflux" comes and goes like a sea, in a graceful yet at the same time serious movement like a quest. The melody of a fragile beauty has accents a la Philip Glass, unceasingly repeated. It always rises, stubbornly, until it melts with softness. "Grasses in Wind" is agitated with a rapid, constant quivering, to the point of being as if disheveled. A strange incantatory lullaby, "Lullaby" seems to be trapped by its motionless and repeated arpeggios, widened into insidious ellipses.
And it is "Litany"... the magical and probable return of algorithms, the most rigorous and wildly lyrical title, brother of old songs like "En abyme" on Melaine's first album, Quatre pièces pour piano. It is a call, a spiral staircase in an endless dungeon, an infinite ascent that could serve as a sound illustration for some of Constantin Brancusi's works. When pure mathematics is clothed in Light and Spirit, the bells ring, carrousel and chime, the elevation levitates, the flaming body suspended beyond all contingencies. A bewitching absolute!
The appeasement returns with "Horizon", to the gripping melancholy. Its poor chords follow one another unhurriedly, punctuated by low notes, before a furious part, a deaf and hammered out runaway, then a return to a meditative calm dug out of resonant depth. The contrast with "Piano Loop", an agitated swell of tangled loops in the purest minimalist tradition, is stunning, with iridescent textures and expressive, almost languorous bubbles.
"Song" responds to "Introduction" with its powerful dynamism, its expressive melody that unfolds in large irresistible circles.
Who said that minimalism lacked soul, lyricism, ardor?
My favorite titles: 1) "Litany" 2) "Flux / Reflux", "Lullaby" and "Piano Loop" 3) Everything else!