This is the first album proper from Michael Price, composer of the music to the BBC’s ‘Sherlock’. The list of recording media used on Entanglement reportedly includes mobile phone, vintage microphones, and 1940s magnetic recording device: Price is very much interested in the context these media impart on the sound. On the Erased Tapes label.
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While I absolutely hold his involvement in Sherlock against him, I can’t deny that Michael Price knows his way around a minimal tearjerker. Price’s brand of neo-classical has the same lack of pretense as Nils Frahm’s recent work ‘Solo’, the sound of an aficionado humming and hawing over their instrument, lethargically pressing against it to see what happens outside of the usual conventions. Which isn’t to say this isn’t magnificently composed stuff -- some of the motifs Price wrings out here sound gorgeous, and linger in the memory -- just that the whole thing sounds totally effortless.
‘Entanglement’ lives up to its title, meandering into different strands of composition, such as “Easter” and “Little Warm Thing”, which bring together an urgent flurry of strings, as if scoring a pack of birds flying north for winter. Here, Price’s piano becomes nothing but a stamp, with chords cascading in the background, underneath the harsh layer of orchestra. “Budapest” takes found sounds from the streets of the Hungarian city and buries them in a sorrowful pocket of sound, from tragical strings on Henryk Gorecki’s level and a propulsive synth line. As if demanding versatility, he also offers up "The Uncertainty Principle", an overwhelmingly romantic opera-led piece.
Price’s music is a lot more enjoyable when Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman aren’t reading out homophobic rejoinders in or around it. ‘Entanglement’ is equal parts a lovely piece of contemporary classical and an unsettling, terse practicing of ambient. It’ll appeal to fans of Frahm and Richter, but also to those pulled in by Dirty Beaches’ ambiguous, unrelenting drone. Price sounds good without the screen.
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