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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Benoît Delbecq - Circles And Calligrams (Songlines, 2010) ****½

At various occasions in the past, I was impressed by the playing of French pianist Benoît Delbecq, whether with "Les Amants De Juliette", "Poolplayers", in duo with Marc Ducret, with the John Hébert Trio, or with Canadian piano player Andy Milne on "Where Is Pannonica?"

I pointed out his exceptional use of prepared piano, his pointillism, attention to detail, creativity and broad musical range.

Now, on his second solo album, he does it all again, and taking it even a step further. His pieces are composed, some even very tightly, with the prepared strings sounding like percussion, with the other hand playing regular piano, or he plays regular with both hands, avoiding the strings that need to give the expected "prepared" sound at the right moment: hence the need for some discipline.

His music is also built around the concept of circular movement and calligrams, giving structure to the piece but adding pulse and rhythmic cycles. The tone of his compositions also have a broad scope : subdued,  meditative, hypnotic or just plain fun : they keep their unique and recognisable approach leading to strong unity despite the variation.

Intelligent, unique in its vision and approach, compelling and of an incredible lightness. An absolute joy to the ear.

Delbecq also released a trio album with Jean-Jacques Avenel on bass and Emile Biyaenda on drums, also worth checking out. 

The Vimeo movie that goes with it, may lead to technical problems on a blog, but here is the link.


© stef