Michael Price - Entanglement - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Michael Price - Entanglement

by David Bruggink Rating:7 Release Date:2015-04-13
The last 15 years have seen the introduction of a form of classical music tailored to the tastes of indie-pop and rock listeners, as composers like Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson released albums that received high praise from tastemakers like Pitchfork. More recently, so-called modern classical music has found a torchbearer in London-based Erased Tapes, which has scored some successes with releases that bear classical influences proudly amid styles that cater more broadly to indie audiences.
Nil Frahm's impressive live document, Spaces, dabbled in dub techno and grand synth arpeggios when it wasn't demonstrating his superlative command of the piano; Lubomyr Melnyk's Corollaries helped to introduce his unique 'continuous' style of playing, a technically awe-inspiring and meditative evolution of piano-led minimalism developed in the 70s and 80s, to a new generation of listeners.
Michael Price is one of the newer additions to the Erased Tapes stable of artists, having joined the label back in 2011, and finally releases his debut Entanglement this year. The album's elegantly minimalist cover belies Price's diverse experience in composing; his website documents his contributions to such seemingly incongruous programmes as BBC's Sherlock and The Inbetweeners 2. Though much of Erased Tapes' output could be described as cinematic, Entanglement feels particularly imbued with pathos, cementing its connection with such emotionally-resonant albums as Max Richter's The Blue Notebooks and Memoryhouse, selections from which would go on to appear in numerous soundtracks.
By and large, Entanglement is permeated by warmth and, like other Erased Tapes releases, rewards the use of quality headphones in discerning its exceptionally recorded string-sections. It is also punctuated by moments of crystalline beauty, such as on the title track, when a serene melody emerges like the sun piercing through storm clouds. Shorter, more experimental tracks ('Tape Overture', 'Digital Birds') serve as palate-cleansers between the more substantial compositions.
My main criticism of Entanglement - and it's not a particularly potent one - is that its tone sometimes seems exceedingly morose, and particularly suited to scoring dramatic narrative, making the album feel like it was written with a certain film or scenes in mind. The solemnity of 'The Attachment' and 'Maitri', reminiscent of Górecki's Symphony No. 3, stands in sharp contrast with the ethereal loveliness of 'Easter', in which comforting tape hiss envelops piano melodies that fall with the graceful randomness of raindrops.

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