Max Richter
Disconnect


3.5
great

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
April 9th, 2013 | 21 replies


Release Date: 04/09/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Max Richter boots up his laptop

For a film exploring the sense of isolation created by an ever “connected” world, it probably wouldn't be much of a risk to employ a musician whose most successful work focuses on, among other things, isolation. Less of a risk still to actually use some excerpts from said critically acclaimed and popular album about isolation in said film about isolation which no doubt hopes to be both critically acclaimed and popular. After your mind’s tongue has untied itself from the previous sentence, it should not be a great effort to imagine the film and soundtrack working together rather nicely. Sadly, however, the soundtrack could be seen to be a little wanting in isolation. Within the film, I don’t know - it isn't out yet.

It’s almost surprising how different the old snippets sound outside to moody confines of The Blue Notebooks. “On the Nature of Daylight,” for instance, feels a little naked without Tilda Swinton’s introduction, or the dark, thoughtful blanket the tone of The Blue Notebooks provides. Disconnect offers very little protection in this regard -the focus is the film, after all; not the orchestral beast stirring behind it- and Max’s steady classical artworks do seem a little antique next to the remainder of the soundtrack.

For his new pieces, Max has shut the lid on his piano and put down the strings in order to sit in front of a computer. This is a significant step for the previously orchestral-centred composer, yet aside from the supposedly intended irony of the move clashing with Disconnect’s message of putting down the keyboard, it’s a surprisingly smooth transition. Stylistically he keeps rigidly to his calm and minimalist dogma, except now he has a myriad new textures to play with, a new echo effect and is no longer limited by mankind’s inability to perfectly hold the same note forever. When he chooses to use a series of fast and abrupt notes they bleed together like chimes: even when Max wants to instill a sense of urgency it’s oddly serene. It's still the same old Richter.

It’s clear he has had a lot of fun in his new electronic playground, as in the 21 pieces we rarely hear any repetition of ideas. That is unless he chooses to subtly adapt “On the Nature of Daylight” into a two minute ending statement titled “The Swimmer.” From quiet bass kicks and electronic ambiance to swirling organs and heartbroken vocals, Disconnect is a soundtrack bent on keeping its listeners guessing. Oddly enough, for Richter, a few of the tracks move further into expressive emotion than his previous works would lead us to expect. It's very much like breaking into the sunlight after being completely immersed in Richter's contemplative pool: a bit of a shock but welcome nonetheless. Despite these additions -which were no doubt a necessity of the film- the overall tone still remains pleasantly subdued.

In the end, Disconnect is a soundtrack before an album: there’s no real focus, the tracks are too short and there are too damn many of them, but it’s just such a joy seeing one of the most celebrated contemporary composers try his hand at so many new styles. Even when he isn’t the focus Max can still stupefy you into thoughtful silence, and that’s why his more experimental and muddled releases still manage to be absolutely fantastic.



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user ratings (8)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

This is awesome.

YankeeDudel
April 9th 2013


9313 Comments


damn another one already. i still havent listened to his last.

Digging: Walknut - Graveforests And Their Shadows

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2013


6105 Comments


Excellent review, should get myself further acquainted with this guy's work at some point in the future.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, man. Do it if you get the time, The Blue Notebooks is among my favourite albums.

IHeardThat
April 9th 2013


77 Comments


New Max Richter? This is news to me, but I won't complain. I'll be interested to hear his new(ish) sound. Great review, very well articulated.

scissorlocked
April 9th 2013


3510 Comments


nice stuff man

Blue Notebooks is indeed great, as most of his works

will dig this anytime soon

Jash
April 9th 2013


4244 Comments


I love Infra so much but still haven't gotten around to any of his other works. Aside from embracing his electronic side with this release, how does if stack up against Infra, and what would you (or anyone else) recommend to get next from his previous works?

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2013


6448 Comments


Djeez, this guy doesn't stop! Still have to fully absorb his Vivaldi recomposed.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love Infra so much but still haven't gotten around to any of his other works. Aside from embracing his electronic side with this release, how does if stack up against Infra, and what would you (or anyone else) recommend to get next from his previous works?


I wouldn't put this as a next stop from Infra, since it isn't really an "album" as such and therefore misses out on the full Max Richter experience. I can't recommend The Blue Notebooks highly enough: it's my go-to album on wax for whenever I'm just feeling a little existential. Memoryhouse is also an option, though it's clear that Max is yet to really settle down - so it's a little schizophrenic. It's prime advert/trailer material though, so you should recognise tracks like Sarajevo. Though like Clerc I haven't really absorbed Vivaldi reworked completely yet so can't comment.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2013


3450 Comments


Excellent review as always Jonny - I want to see you with the staff tag someday. Would I like this? From your review it
seems like pretty beautiful ambient-esque stuff but I'm not really sure I'll dig it.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah thanks, Will. If "someday" = in quite a long time I agree with you. Still got a lot of improving to do yet (although I think I've always said that and always will).

I'd say the album only really overlaps with your tastes slightly. There are a few tracks I can see you digging for sure - but I can't say the same for the whole thing.

Gyromania
April 10th 2013


15712 Comments


excellent review,sir. basically my exact thoughts on this.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 10th 2013


10594 Comments


I would watch this but ugh Jason Bateman is awful.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 10th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is three separate stories, I think, so at least he's theoretically not on screen for too long.

TheNexus100
April 10th 2013


2525 Comments


most boring composer

Digging: Carrion Spring - A Short History of Decay

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2013


15737 Comments


the recomposition of four seasons is great as well

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

most boring composer


Any reason for the elite opinion, or are you just being inflammatory for the sake of it?

kitsch
April 11th 2013


5107 Comments


Stop comparing this to the blue notebooks, hes done so much better work since then.

kitsch
April 11th 2013


5107 Comments


I love jason bateman

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 11th 2013


2714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stop comparing this to the blue notebooks


It's kind of hard not to when it actually uses pieces from The Blue Notebooks.



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