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Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 3 / 3 / 2011

Dustin O'Halloran - Lumiere
Label: 130701
Format: CD


Delightful third solo album of piano and strings music from composer, Dustin O'Halloran

The gap between post-rock, ambient and minimalist classical music is so small, it makes perfect sense for the Fat Cat, the post rockers’ playground, to have dedicated a little bit of its activities to composers as well. This release from Dustin O’Halloran on their offshoot label 130701 will surely be one of the strongest the label is ever involved with. Dustin O’Halloran is a pianist and composer who divides his time between writing and playing his own music, composing film scores and appearing as a guest on records by various rock/indie luminaries. As well as releasing 'Lumiere' in February, he has a cameo on Josh T. Pearson’s new album. O’Halloran has been snapped up by 130701 after previously recording two solo piano albums for Bella Union. By composing music for strings and making his own piano only a part of his music, his work has become significantly more enjoyable. Bella Union might be kicking themselves for letting him go. Although O’Halloran’s piano work is not wholly dissimilar to what he has done before, the music here much more closely resembles his soundtrack to the film ‘An American Affair’. But where most of those were short pieces, composed specifically for use in the background, here he has the chance to expand his compositions to their full extent. Seemingly unconcerned by genre restrictions, O’Halloran’s music is stark and often bleak, but it is always expressive and generally tuneful. Fans of Godspeed You Black Emperor will recognise his habit for gradually adding layers of sound to his music, but this is music that is clearly meant primarily for enjoyment, not to spark confrontation. The string parts come courtesy of New York’s ACME string ensemble, which is dedicated solely to performing work from 20th and 21st century composers, and though his music rarely requires virtuosity, it benefits hugely from their sensitive, subtle style. We also get cameos from Peter Broderick (composer, violinist and occasionally a singer-songwriter in the Bon Iver mode) and Adam Wiltzie, who tips the music closer towards post-rock with the addition of occasional guitar and post rock. All this simmers down to a delightful record, with not one boring note. O’Halloran’s music is lushly beautiful, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Track Listing:-
1 A Great Divide
2 Opus 44
3 We Move Lightly
4 Quartet N.2
5 Opus 43
6 Quintette N.1
7 Fragile N.4
8 Opus 55
9 Snow + Light

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