Swiss pianist Colin Vallon's fourth release as a leader, Le Vent is a truly collaborative effort that eschews individual solos in favor of a haunting, collective sound. The results are atmospheric and exquisitely formalistic. This is not to suggest that, because of its ambient nature, the album is without substance. On the contrary, its structure becomes its essence.
The title track, for instance, recreates the phenomenon of its name with supreme lyricism. Vallon's resonant, tranquil bars sing the deceptively simple melody that bassist Patrice Moret punctuates with sparse, deep reverberations. Drummer Julian Sartorius makes his instrument evoke the dulcet tones of wind chimes. Similarly, on the impressionistic "Le Quai," the group's collective performance evokes the crepuscular beauty of sea waves lapping against the pier.
A contemplative aura permeates the recording that is best heard on, for instance, the somber "Cendre." Vallon's keys toll over Morer's dispersed thumps and Sartorius' carefully placed beats. Gradually a definite spiritual sense imbues the tune. Elsewhere "Fade" is a solemn, introspective and unhurried conversation that Vallon gracefully weaves with Moret's lilting strums and Sartorius' rustles and splashes.
Occasionally a cinematic intrigue takes center stage such as on "Rouge." The rolling waves of canorous harmonies echo against each other. "Pixels" brings a dramatic angularity to the disc with its subtly futuristic style and allows Vallon a brief showcase of his virtuosity.
The trio also deftly utilizes silent pauses in their interplay to an ethereal effect. The melancholic "Altalena" opens with Vallon's spare, yet sonorous notes, alternating with Moret's short and memorable con-arco phrases and Sartorius' rustling cymbals. Their pensive darkly hued exchanges are separated by quiet periods that are an integral part of the music.
The cooperative improvisation "Coriolis" aptly concludes the disc, as it is a spontaneous exploration of the mellifluousness of noise and its abstract nature. With this singular work Vallon and his sidemen fuse their distinctive artistic voices to weave a series of stimulating and delightful tone poems. The result makes for an intensely rewarding listening experience.
Juuichi; Immobile; Le Vent; Cendre; Fade; Goodbye; Le Quai; Pixels; Altalena; Rouge;
Colin Vallon: piano; Patrice Moret: double bass; Julian Sartorus: drums.
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