sun 27/09/2020

CD: Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastian Plano - Everything | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastian Plano - Everything

CD: Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastian Plano - Everything

Underneath a tasteful surface lies profundity if you immerse yourself

'A gorgeous dream of a record'

The orchestral-electronic sounds which the Erased Tapes label epitomises exist balanced on a knife-edge of extreme tastefulness.

The orchestral-electronic sounds which the Erased Tapes label epitomises exist balanced on a knife-edge of extreme tastefulness. Not quite fitting into either the classical or the club-electronica worlds, the style is closest to film composition – indeed artists like Jóhann Jóhannsson are increasingly bringing the sound right to the heart of the Hollywood establishment – and can be extremely popular: Erased Tapes's Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds are big names, easily filling big halls worldwide. But it's still viewed with some wariness by those self-conscious about their tastes: to some it all feels a bit bourgeois, a bit nice, a bit of a soundtrack to neoliberalism.

That shows a lack of imagination. Many of the same distancing criticisms were made of things in the past – new age music, say, or smooth soul – which have now become hipster catnip. And while, yes, certain records in this “post-classical” world smooth off the edges of minimalism or romantic music to the point of empty blandness, just as often they can achieve real beauty. And this album of music created for the immersive universe-building indie computer game of the same name by David O'Riley does the latter far more than it does the former.

The production is uncanny in its ability to bring together “real”, human-scale orchestral instruments with microscopic flickers of electronic sound or giant booms and whooshes that give a sense of chasmic – or even cosmic – distance and make it work as a whole. Just occasionally the technique breaks the mood, and you might get a sense of a hi-fi demonstration disc, a “look what we can do” moment. But way, way more often, the lyrical melodic writing, the ambient tickling of the synapses, the conjuring of weightlessness, all add up to a gorgeous dream of a record: not just a lifestyle accessory but an experience to cherish.

@joemuggs

While certain records smooth off the edges of minimalism or romantic music to the point of empty blandness, just as often they can achieve real beauty

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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