Review Summary: So close.
Does anyone else find it rather funny that it's through the avenue of electronic music that many break into classical? In terms of reputation, the two genres couldn't be more distant, but this recent movement of blending the two has shown that, in fact, classical music can be enhanced with an electronic influence. In the past few years we've been treated to many composers who toy with this balance between wires and strings, though the end result is often similar: an almost unsettling beauty. With his latest release, Jacaszek
does little to distinguish himself from the tone of his peers, but instead brings a new delicacy in his handling of the electronics.
Because, you see, the electronic aspect almost takes on a life of its own in Glimmer
. Ever present, haunting and rising and swelling by its own accord; it results in being quite ominous, as if it's ready to engulf the orchestra laying in front of it... which it does, at a point, resulting in defiant, unrelenting waves of drones and static. At points like these, it lies in contrast to the warmth of the strings, horns and woodwind yet somehow manages to fit around them perfectly. For the most part, however, the electronic element is relegated to a support role where it enhances the instrumental leads.
tends to treat his classical music like improvisational jazz, with a defined "lead" at a given moment with the other instruments forming some kind of basis for the lead to play around. This creates quite a solitary tone, in context, with the woodwinds sounding especially lonely. Mixed with the threat emanating from the electronic backdrop, it creates a rather interesting soundscape indeed. In songs such as Windhover
, this relationship meshes beautifully - and were Glimmer
compiled entirely of similar tracks it would no doubt go down as a hallmark of the neoclassical sub-genre.
There are some criticisms to be made however: namely that Glimmer
can tend to be too reserved. A track like Pod Swiatlo
, for instance, has an absolutely fantastic build up but never even attempts to deliver a climax to this. The listener is left disappointed, despite the brilliance of the track otherwise. This leads on to a need for a little bit more substance, as frequently Glimmer
will go through the motions of drawing out a powerful emotional response but sometimes ends too soon, or repeats them too often - though this is not always the case.
Overall, these small negative comments do little to detract from the fact that Glimmer
is a very interesting, calm and intelligent album. It certainly contributes to the excellence the genre has produced so far, and I know that I'll be waiting eagerly for how Jacaszek
plans to develop his sound.