Akira Rabelais: The Little Glass (2xCD, Akira Rabelais, December 2015)

Harold Budd’s double CD Avalon Sutra was on the shortlist for my albums of 2014, and the highlight was the second disc’s 69-minute ‘remix’ by Akira Rabelais, As Long As I Can Hold My Breath (By Night). So I was really looking forward to this, a collaboration between the same artists, only now with Rabelais’s name on the tin. The first disc consists of four piano tracks, ranging in length between 19 seconds and 42 minutes. The short track is Begin Slowly And Curved Fingers, and it’s hard to have an opinion about it. The long track is Every Tone Is The Prism As Words, Any Unexpected Corners Must Be Slipped Away, and I have to admit that (whisper it!) it’s a little bit too sparse and minimal for me. I think that thing where you play a phrase and then let it fade out before dropping in the next works so well because there is an unresolved tension hanging in that gap. Here, the gaps are so long that the tension is allowed to dissipate. To be honest, if I’m not paying proper attention I find that I’ve often forgotten the last phrase by the time the next one comes along, so there’s no sense of connection between them. Which I find frustrating. The other two tracks are in between in length, less spaced out, and are both nice numbers but not spectacularly memorable.

So, as Boomkat predicted, it’s the second disc which is the real draw here. Once again, Rabelais has produced a 69-minute remix. This (the suitably epically titled The Resonators Are Very The Room, I Throw Light On In Giving A Part As Meaning And Beauty, Practical Exercises of One’s Pure Playing) is rather more distantly related to the source material than his work on Avalon Sutra, which was based firmly around looped pianos and strings: the instruments are hardly recognizable here. Interestingly, it pretty much exclusively occupies the treble register, which gives it a rarefied atmosphere which feels like you’d get dizzy if you breathe it too deeply. For me, it lacks the meditative magic of last year’s offering, but this is gossamer ambient of the highest quality.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Modern Classical / Ambient.

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