It’s such an unexpected pleasure when demos are sent your way that not only exceed your expectations but also genuinely offer something highly original. Normally it is with trepidation that I follow the links from a given band, whose name normally starts with “the” and whose campaign to change the face of music armed only with a working knowledge of the Libertines back catalogue falls flat when it comes to actually making the music.
Not that musicality was ever in doubt with Michelle’s request to check out her work. Having seen her as a part of country and eastern gypsies, Devolution, as well as in the orchestraly augmented Buswell line up, the skills were never an issue, it was just a question of the ability to craft songs. Well, I shouldn’t have worried.
Over the course of 12 instrumental pieces, Michelle has managed to create something truly inspiring. Piano driven but augmented by synth washes, strings, flutes and various other peripheral sounds, collectively this comes across as a sound track to a film that hasn’t yet been made, but that really should be. Part Philip Glass minimalism (Lonely Winter), part Vangelis Blade Runner interludes (Space) part ethereal dreamscape but largely dynamically elegant and musically accessible.
It is also a collection of contrast, from the frivolous Carousel and the conjured sylvan landscapes of Dream Chase to the intensity of Salem’s Chant; from the pastoral nature of Atlantis and The Afterlife to the grand cinematic sweeps of Passage To Talakin and Remembrance, these songs cover a lot of ground.
The titles themselves are intriguing, offering an insight into the possible inspirations and mindset of the composer. With Space, Atlantis, The Fairy Queen, Satan and The Abyss all making appearances, you have hints of the imagery that drives the music, music that seems all about communicating concepts and ideas, building mental pictures and instrumental soundscapes. Even though each listener may interpret those images differently, overall the music remains thematically enchanting and a joy to listen to.
Check out the music here