Here’s a sweet confection for the fall season: a resonant score for a short animated film by Jamie Mills. We’ve only got a minute of the film for now, but the rest will be released as part of a physical package very soon.
glacis is Euan McMeekan on piano, accompanied by Guy Gelem on cello and mixed by Matthew Collings. Lately (thanks in great part to Hauschka) we’ve been hearing a lot more of the piano’s fuller palette in recordings: tappings, rustlings, the slight squeak of pedals and keys. This intuitive development in piano music – to make the music sound like it sounds, rather than a cleaned-up version – has taken the genre out of the realm of the placid and polite to the immediate and approachable. The subsequent warmth of this EP is akin to that found on sets by Dustin O’Halloran, Nils Frahm and Alex Kozobolis. The tone is intimate and inviting, and – perhaps due to the time of year, the video, and the associations conjured by the titles – it feels like snow.
The separation between notes is especially lovely, as time is provided for the EP’s mood to sink in. McMeekan infuses his compositions with delicate emotion, ranging from the wistful to the yearning. While each track contains a clear melodic theme, the four pieces flow together as a single journey – not as long or elaborate as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but on the same conceptual page. Gelem’s cello makes a fine adornment, expanding the set’s dynamic range. It’s virtually impossible to choose a favorite, but it’s likely that listeners will prefer the piece that reflects the season they are in. So while the tender stops and starts of “Spring/Summer” may appeal to the Southern Hemisphere at the time of release, the restrained grey skies of “Autumn/Winter” match the current tone of the Northern. As the EP is brief, one is likely to want to play it again immediately, and “Be Silent, Be Still” makes a lovely transition back to the tones of spring. No matter what the season, Tohu Va Vohu is a tender companion, and a worthy follow-up to last year’s lovely Lost Again On Waking. (Richard Allen)