The concept of light having weight may seem unusual but in listening to this solo set by pianist Benoit Delbecq, the idea starts to make sense. His style of playing mixes feathery improvisations with clanking rhythms that bring a feeling of mass and density to his work.
Delbecq uses a lot of prepared piano techniques and has mastered them to the point where he can mold clusters of dampened, thudding notes into a rhythm track that supports his playing on the actual keyboard. On "The Loop of Chicago," the muted sounds add weight to his wandering piano lines and the two elements combine into an effective duet. Pervasive knocking actually is the dominant sound on "Chemin Sur La Crest" with careful, resonating piano notes working through and over the bumpy surface of the rhythm. .
As the set goes on, normal piano sounds sometimes nearly disappear completely. "Au Fil De La Parole" is mostly brittle, harp-like clicks with a bit of piano seasoning and on "Anamorphoses," quick, rippling notes strike against a syncopated knocking pattern and the two eventually merge to create a decent rhumba rhythm. On "Havn En Havre" the piano insides are tugged and strummed like guitar strings to create an ethereal mood. This is eventually overlaid with a piano improvisation that unwinds in the lazily probing manner of Keith Jarrett. "Pair Et Impair"'s prickly, mechanical melodies have the rigidity of computer music but are layered in such a way that they begin to resemble the crisscrossing guitar activity of some African pop music.
Delbecq's mastery of the piano really shows on the tracks where he simply plays it normally. .The notes of "Dripping Stones" fall in icy, hesitant progressions coming off like the soundtrack to a bad dream. The closing "Broken World" traces out a shady, descending melody in halting, deep chords that unroll like a fog. It is a piece full of quiet regret and noirish blues that sounds like something out of Ran Blake's repertoire.
Benoit Delbecq is a remarkable pianist who has refined his playing technique into an unique style that weaves singular beauty out of clashing sound elements. His music is insistent, compelling and sometimes genuinely haunting.
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.
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