(I recently decided to trade my Netflix subscription for Spotify Premium. I don’t believe that I’ll have much personal projects to post on this site for the next month or two, so, in order to avoid inactivity, I shall write small reviews and reflections about albums.)
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (2012)
I first heard Max Richter in the movie Shutter Island, which used his song, “On the Nature of Daylight,” from The Blue Notebooks. Admittedly, I know little about Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, but the new versions by Max Richter sound more simple than what I remember. It seems to me that he takes a Christmas tree, strips off the ornaments, and returns with only a pine tree. It reminds me of a project that I’ve recently undertaken: I’ve been rewriting classic short stories so that my girlfriend’s eight-year old daughter can read them. Some people might say that Richter’s The Four Seasons loses some of Vivaldi’s magic, but the two can co-exist and fulfill whatever needs come from their fans.
Nine Inch Nails’ Hesitation Marks (2013)
I struggle to find the words that describe what I expect from Nine Inch Nails, but, whatever they are, Hesitation Marks aims true and knocks the apple off my head. It appeals to me with greater magnetism than The Slip and Year Zero, while fitting into the post-The Fragile chronology that includes With Teeth. By all of that, I mean to say that I really like this new album. Because I bought tickets for Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming tour, I can’t help but listen to the album and think about how the tracks will translate upon the stage. The album spreads like an exciting blueprint, rather than as a finished work. That’s my circumstance, but I can still detect Hesitation Marks’ brilliance underneath my bias.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Playing the Piano (2010)
I know absolutely nothing about Ryuichi Sakamoto. I stumbled upon him as a Spotify recommendation for fans of Erik Satie – a well placed idea, I think. I believe he does much more than just play the piano, but in the case of Playing the Piano, well… it showcases his mastery of the instrument. I detected something quintessentially Japanese upon my first listen of the album. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” and “Thousand Knives,” most especially, reminded me of the scores written by Joe Hisaishi, who I listen to regularly. I also thought of the compositions found in the Etrian Odyssey series. They each share these jazzy chords and melodies, unlike what I casually hear from classical and jazz artists in the United States. I lack the musical education to know what I’m even talking about, but whatever I’m revolving around holds the secret of my adoration for Sakamoto and Hisaishi’s music.