– THE QUIET RIOT –
When I was at secondary school, we used to call a classmate who was, shall we say, loose of moral, a ‘village bicycle’ because, so the saying went, everyone had had ‘a ride’ on him/her.
I feel like Bryce Dessner is the modern-day equivalent (in musical terms only, you understand… far be it from me to cast aspersions on his sexual habits) of my aforementioned schoolyard peers.
Best known as a member of the rock band the National, Dessner has also made records with Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Jonny Greenwood, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bon Iver (himself something of a ‘communal trike’) and S. Carey amongst many others, not to mention the works he’s been commissioned to compose by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, Carnegie Hall, the Barbican Centre… I could go on.
And so, in 2019 it’s the turn of the renowned French piano duo, the Labèque sisters, Katia and Marielle, along with David Chalmin; composer, producer and singer/guitarist of the band Triple Sun (as well as boyfriend of Katia).
Together, they’ve formed an ongoing project called the MDH (Minimalist Dream House) Quartet who perform pieces written for two pianos and two guitars, the four instruments weaving in and out of each other in slightly different timings, creating a dizzying display of virtuosity.
The first fruit of their labour, Haven is as intricate, as polyphonic and as rhythmically mischievous a track as I’ve heard from Dessner; with shades of his 2017 Muziekgebouw Eindhoven-commissioned piece Mercury (co-authored with Stevens, Muhly and James McAlister) dropped in for added ‘what the fuck, this is bloody beautiful’-ness.
The piece can be found on the recently released Bryce Dessner record, El Chan.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX:
You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –