Melaine Dalibert - Ressac [Another Timber - 2017]Ressac brings together two spell-binding & hauntingly moody examples of open-ended modular piano composition from this French composer & pianist. The release appears on the always rewarding British label Another Timber, and the CD comes in the labels house style minimal white gatefold packaging.
Ressac is the second release from Mr. Dalibert after the self-release 2015 Quatre Pièces Pour Piano, which saw him offering up a selection of four piano tributes to composer/ musicians he respected, such Japanese pianist Aki Takahashi who is known for her performances of the works of both Feldman & Cage.
For this new release, we get just two tracks, which are both composed & played by Mr. Dalibert. And first of these is “En Abyne”- a nearing ten & a half minute work from 2014. The piece is built around a series of shadowy & dramatic notation patterns, which seem to be in a continually & repeated descent. Dalibert unfolds these patterns in a deliberately tense, fairly pace, and grim manner. So one feels like your in constant & terminal bleak descent- yes this is a very stark & grey work, but there is much sad & taut beauty in it’s perfectly played angularity & Dalibert’s grim precision.
The second track here is the title track, and this is a composition from 2015. This track takes up the lion share of the CD at just shy of the fifty-minute mark. And compared with constant & pressing angular descent of the first track- this is a lot more considered, sparse, and skeletal in both its composition & playing. The piece is built around a series glacial paced & barren piano patterns- which are enhanced by Dalibert's skillful use of the piano pedal, to create moments of very slow reverberating & fading beauty- which is weaved through with both felt harmonic loss & poignant fragility. At times it feels like the whole thing may finally drift off into complete silence, but it never does as Dalibert managers to always just keep pushing on the whole things extremely slowed & fragile pace.
On my first few plays through of this release I found I kept returning to the first track again & again- sure I admired the amount of control highlighted by Dalibert's playing of the title track, but it just left me a little under-whelming. But as I played & concentrated more & more on the release as a whole I’ve really come to fully appreciate & enjoy the title track. What the key is I think is to let yourself slow down to it’s barely moving pace, and with this, you open up both its slow melodic unfold & it’s highly considered feeling of melancholy.
Ressac is a most accomplished excise in both stark-yet- beautiful composition, and wonderfully emotional & controlled piano playing. I very much look forward to hearing what Mr. Dalibert does in the future, as he clearly is a real talent.Roger Batty