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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Melaine Dalibert - Shimmering [Ici d’ailleurs/Mind Travel Series - 2022]

Shimmering is album number six from pianist/composer Melaine Dalibert. It’s an eight-track affair that sees the French man focusing his elegant and rich playing on the more openly melodic, emotional, and atmospheric side of his craft, with the addition of subtle string/ ambient elements on a few tracks.

I’ve closely followed and enjoyed Melaine’s career since his second album 2017’s Ressac, on Another Timber. So, I have to admit when I first played Shimmering – I felt a little underwhelmed. The tracks featured seemed  largely rather straightforward, if of course well played, with a decidedly approachable and formal feel to both their flow and melodies. With many of the tracks having fairly short runtimes. Yes, his work has always had a sense of both melody and mood, but in the past, there was seemingly more depth and character to his playing/ composition.

I’ve now played more & sat with the album longer, and while at points it still feels somewhat safe and formal. It’s certainly grown on me, and later on, in its runtime, he unitizers some interesting/ creative production/ sound elements to back his piano playing.  

The album opens with cascading and bounding key rolls of the title track- it sees Dalibert laying out a plaintive, yet rising melody which will certainly stick in your head. As we move on we have the shambling almost vibe like flourishes of “Six + Six”, and the emotional climbing meets steady bass gallop of “Prayer”. But for me, the album really shines/ makes an impact later on with the likes of the nearing six and a half minutes of “Mantra” which gently builds up layers of felt slightly reverbing key work- with this growing fluttering/ vinyl like crackle textural backdrop. And the felt key delicacy meets the gliding string backdrop of the album final track “Epilogue”.

I’m certain that Shimmering will open Mr Dalibert's work up to a wider and more general audience, and there is no doubt his playing is as felt and rich as always. I just wish there had been a bit more creativity within the playing, and a few longer tracks. But if you’re looking for more formal, melodic and atmospheric piano music, played with passion and skill I think this will really click with you.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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