Melaine Dalibert - Cheminant [Elsewhere Music - 2019]
Cheminant is the latest collection of works from French pianist/composer Melaine Dalibert- who has a knack of creating often stark, yet moody & memorable piano work. This recent release comes in the form of a CD on modern composition/ modern classic label Elsewhere Music- the CD appears in a rather striking dark green mini gatefold, that takes in various abstract patterns/ shapes. Dalibert stared releasing work in 2015 with the self-released Quatre Pièces Pour Piano- this saw him severing up a selection of tributes to composer/ musicians he respected, like Japanese pianist Aki Takahashi who is known for her performances of the works of both Feldman & Cage. In 2017 he released Ressac( on Another Timber)- this was a two-track affair, offering up one shorter and one longer composition- and this was where I first became aware of his work. Last year saw the release of Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour( also on Elsewhere) which featured a single hour track of simplistic, yet entrancing piano music. With Cheminant he returns with a selection of five tracks, and just like his first release, all but one of these tracks are a tribute to people he respects, or have been impactful in his work.
The disc opens with the just over thirteen minutes of “Music in an octave” (for David Sylvian)- this built around a very careful spaced, considered, and skeletal line of piano notes, that weave out a rising 'n' falling pattern, which is both captivating and haunting in it’s subtle melodic yet- atmospheric path. Next, we move onto two short pieces- we have the rich and rapidly cascading weave of buoyant, yet felt notation of “Percolations( for right hand)” which is a tribute to Yuko Zama, who runs the Elsewhere label. And “from zero to infinity”( For Peter Garland) with its hauntingly path of notes, that seem to become starker & receding in their seemingly closing-in patter-nation.
The second to last track is the title track, and this is the longest piece here at just over the twenty-one-minute mark. This is for dutch composer and pianist for Reinier van Houdt- and once again we get a lulling and decidedly slowed weave of harmonic, yet slight fraught notation. Much of the track seems to be edged by a subtle ringing & golden sustain, which nicely edges the work with a feeling akin to gently warming autumnal sunlight on the skin.
The final track is "Étude II"- and this runs at just over the eleven minutes. Here we find Dalibert creating a track of bright tolling urgency, as he surrounds us with an almost glowing and hacking mesh of piano notes. The piece finishes the album off in a busy, yet slightly troubled manner- which brought to mind some sort of manic personality high.
With Cheminant Dalibert expands both the scope, depth and mood of his compositions, as well as his skillful control of the piano. It truly is a spell-binding and varied collection of pieces, which I can see appealing above and beyond the normal modern classical/ modern composition audience.Roger Batty