Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch is a French composer who is making her debut release with this record. Like Water Through The Sand is a weighty collection of pieces that usually place the composer’s piano at the forefront, though she also uses electronic treatments and sharp string arrangements to augment the sound. On FatCat imprint 130701.
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There’s been plenty of contemporary classical for y’all to chew on this year, whether you’ve been on a minimalist hype for Nils Frahm or chasing a symphony with Dmitry Evgrafov; some of you might even have listened to the full eight hours of Max Richter’s new dream sequence. I don’t know. In all honesty, though, no one’s made anything nearly as beautiful as Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s new album -- and considering its simplicity, its no frills approach to classical music, that’s quite a feat.
There’s nothing all too surprising about what Levienaise-Farrouch does here -- for the most part, this is expertly and emotively arranged music with little abstraction. “The Sum of Our Flaws” follows a trundling piano motif to its conclusion, trusting it to exist without a second opinion. “Tulsi” brings in the pining ambience of A Winged Victory for the Sullen and places it against equally -- but differently -- desperate instruments, strings plucking abrasively against airbrushed drums. It’s a heady mix of ambience and rhythm that speaks to Levienaise-Farrouch’s ability to make dichotomy sound like harmony.
You’ve probably heard records like this before -- cinematic, with each instrument offering both nuance and a heightening of tensions -- but that doesn’t make Levienaise-Farrouch’s work any less compelling. On a track like “Vestiges”, you can hear her arrangements coming off the page and into reality: the piano thrums, then opens to a melody, before strings enter the room like sunshine emerging from behind curtains. It's nice to hear music coming alive.
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- Like Water Through The Sand by Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch
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