MAX RICHTER: 24 Postcards In Full Colour (130701/Fat-Cat Records)


Posted on Aug 1st 2008 12:50 am

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Max Richter: 24 Postcards In Full Colour

24 Postcards In Full Colour
130701/Fat-Cat Records 2008
24 Tracks. 34mins33secs

Max Richter’s latest offering is not, so the press release claims, the follow up to his 2006 album Songs From Before. In fact, the twenty four tracks assembled here are part of a much wider experiment, due to be performed in art galleries, with at its centre mobile phone technology. Audience members will be able to pre-register their phone number and receive SMS messages triggering specific tracks, making each performance totally unpredictable and unique.

Beyond the concept and the cold technological practicality, Max Richter revisits here some of his favourite themes (the passing of time, the ephemeral aspect of memories, the melancholy of leaving places behind) and assembles them into miniature vignettes which, in most case, last little more than a moment. Very much like a flickering old movie, melodies flash by, often too short to allow focus. Richter has gathered a string septet, with additional contribution from guitarist Preston Reed, while he takes care of the piano, found sounds and other noise textures. At times, the pieces seem to be perfectly defined, with a clear beginning and end, while at others, they are cut short, as if to hint at hidden treasures. It is a process that Richter has employed in the past, but here, the effect is greatly accentuated by the brevity of the compositions.

As a stand-alone record, 24 Postcards In Full Colour actually works superbly well. Very much like on previous records, Richter alternates between solo piano, string ensemble and textural moments, occasionally mixing them to give more depth to his work. The addition of guitar-led sections, on In Louisville At 7 or A Song For H for instance adds a touch of electricity to the mix. On Return To Prague, the guitar becomes less defined, the melody is cloudier, evoking for a moment the Cocteau Twins of Victorialand. Elsewhere, the structure of his pieces is more minimal and sparse than on previous work, and while atmospheric moments can at times fill the space with very little, at others, silences are as material as instruments.

Max Richter has become one of the most prominent of the contemporary classical movement, and this is due in part to his enthusiasm for bringing together tradition and modernity. His music often feels timeless, and this all-too short collection perhaps even more so. Richter knows how to interact with emotions and moods in such an elegant fashion than his music cannot fail to captivate, even when it is, like here, just a flicker in time.


Max Richter (MySpace) | Fat-Cat Records
Buy: CD | LP

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Comments are closed.