Carlos Cipa – The Monarch and the Viceroy
Fans of Yann Tiersen’s sparse, melancholy piano compositions should find Carlos Cipa’s debut engrossing: a collection of solo pieces by the 22 year-old Munich-based composer/musician, The Monarch and the Viceroy maintains a similarly cinematic tone, shifting between elegiac, Satie-esque spaciousness and moments of twinkling, Debussy-like intensity. Cipa’s inspirations stretch beyond the classical sphere, however; these pieces have a rhythmic, percussive insistence that betray his background as a drummer in punk and jazz outfits.
Despite that chequered musical background, Cipa’s virtuosity – as both composer and performer – tends to override Viceroy’s other elements and influences. As a result, the album lacks the fragile simplicity that makes Tiersen’s work so whimsically endearing; yet pieces like Lost and Delirious, for all of their complexity, also convey an emotive immediacy. Cipa’s style can tread a fine line between cloying and dreamy; but the startlingly confident grandeur of these compositions is undeniable.