Matthew Bourne – Montauk Variations
There’s much to admire about Matthew Bourne – the good grace with which he takes being regularly confused with the ballet choreographer of the same name, for instance, or his maverick inter-genre curiosity (in addition to these solo piano/cello pieces, Bourne’s “Scott Walker + Meshuggah” outfit Bilbao Syndrome promise a full-length in 2012). Then there’s his sharp sense of humour, demonstrated by sleeve notes which follow a paragraph of self-analysis pondering the inspirational qualities of “personal unquietness, solitude and heartbreak” with the summation that “this idea was bullshit.”
But the bulk of praise should be levelled at his boundless talent, both technical and compositional; his improvisational skills are already renowned in jazz circles, and these pieces sound precise and consummate without exception. Whether mellow and romantic (Juliet) or tumultuously erratic (Étude Psychotique), Bourne’s work is ceaselessly inventive and always absorbing, with a wistful cover of Chaplin’s Smile at the close to seal the deal.