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Album Review

Benoit Delbecq: The Weight of Light

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Benoit Delbecq: The Weight of Light
Parisian pianist & composer Benoit Delbecq has not recorded a solo album in more than a decade. His collaborations are with impressive company including Tim Berne, Tom Rainey, Lotte Anker, Mark Turner, Steve Arguelles, Gerald Cleaver, Marc Ducret, Gerry Hemingway, Mary Halvorson, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Kris Davis. It is Davis' Pyroclastic Records that Delbecq calls home for the eclectic collection The Weight of Light.

Delbecq is not a household name in the U.S.A.; many of his recordings were released on French labels such as Quoi de Neuf Docteur, Diaphonic, and Plush. The pianist has led or co-led numerous groups, including his Benoît Delbecq 5, Benoît Delbecq And Fred Hersch Double Trio, Benoît Delbecq Trio, and the Benoît Delbecq Unit. In his various groups and collaborations, Delbecq has established openness to unconventional sounds. Tout Va Monter (Nato, 2015), his association with bassist Joëlle Léandre, is characteristic of Delbecq's unusual approach to sound. The album features a Minnesota rapper called Carnage the Executioner who is on board to function only as human percussion.

Delbecq's style on The Weight of Light is hard to describe and can vary from track to track. In the case of "The Loop of Chicago," he prepares the piano to generate percussive effects and distorted dissonance. The piece effectively evokes the tumultuous downtown hub. There are leaner compositions such as "Dripping Stones," "Anamorphoses," and "Pair Et Impair." Though minimal, each has its peculiar leaps and rhythms. Delbecq includes a nod to classical influences on "Havn En Havre," but the overall piece defies categorization. The album wraps up with "Broken World," a composition Delbecq has recorded several times and presents here on unadulterated acoustic piano.

Delbecq studied sound engineering and acoustics, and has had a long-time affinity for visualizing sound. He was musically mentored by Mal Waldron early in his career while playing with a French jazz orchestra. He was later taught by Dave Holland, and Muhal Richard Abrams. In listening to The Weight of Light, all of those influences can be heard in dissecting the many dense layers employed by the artist. The album is a stimulating and exceptional original collection.

Track Listing

The Loop of Chicago; Dripping Stones; Family Trees; Chemin sur le crest; Au fil de la parole; Anamorphoses; Havn en Havre; Pair et impair; Broken World.

Personnel

Benoit Delbecq: piano.

Album information

Title: The Weight of Light | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Pyroclastic Records


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