Published Jan 16, 2020Now into his third decade as a composer and experimentalist in the constellation of interconnected musical forms dubbed everything from post-rock to "home classical," Sylvain Chauveau has inarguably left his distinctive mark on these maps to the stars.
Simple serves as a kind of clearing house for previously uncollected pieces, dating from 1998 to 2010, the first decade of his career, and are largely pieces from film scores. With the majority of the 18 tracks clocking in at well under two minutes, the album feels like a serving of small plates, at first tantalizing to the palate, but at the halfway point, a disconnected blur of sweets, salts and sours.
The skull-opening drone of "Noir" serves as a striking introduction, and subsequent pieces, especially the longer, more developed ones, like the minimalist jitters of "Au Nombre Des Choses" and the Pulseprogramming remix/cover on "With the Orderly Life," showcase Chauveau's mastery of contrasts, silences, and emotional ambiguity. The more traditional piano and string pieces, mostly miniatures and interludes, suffer a little for being isolated from their original context.
As an introductory offering, Simple is an effective, if a little limited, view of Chauveau's early career. And for the already initiated and/or completists, this will probably serve mostly as a footnote within a tremendously impressive discography. (Fat Cat)