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- Manon by Akira Kosemura
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 29 May 2012
Phil said “twinkly electronica” but this is much more varied than that, coming across much more like soundtrack work with gorgeous piano pieces, accordion workouts and string-laden chamber music battling for superiority. A typical example of the hugely emotive pull of this album would be on ‘Depth of Sorrow’, a gorgeous piano piece that recalls Vince Guaraldi whilst ‘Innocent Children’ begins with bongos (yes!), carefully plucked acoustic guitars and vibraphone to create a neat melody that recalls one of Gareth S Brown’s sweeter moments or Aidan Moffat’s Lucky Pierre project.
There’s a little too much saccharine piano at times sending the album spiralling towards a kind of instrumental Tori Amos fairground sound but thankfully there are darker pieces such as the excellent ‘Invasion of the Dark’ where the staccato strings recall Philip Glass. Despite the variation, the album is still dominated by the piano pieces which recall the type of sentimental music played at endings to Japanese anime films or “chocolate box romanticism”, as someone once regrettably wrote.
Although the more simple pieces recall the haunted William Basinski piano minimilism. Although at times somewhat slushy it’s still utterly gorgeous and if anyone can sit through the prettier passages such as the stunning Ryuichi Sakamoto soundalike ‘Promise’ without getting a bit of dust in their eye then they are a tougher old cookie than this emotional old sop.
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