Various Artists - Floored Memory... Fading Location
Floored Memory...Fading Location, a compilation from FatCat’s instrumental imprint 130701, is a musical exploration of the head. The four artists featured are unusual and fulfilling, if moderately melancholic. Set Fire To Flames, the Montreal supergroup featuring members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion, are the least accessible of the four. The collective's connection to post-rock royalty is obvious: minimalist, ambient noise, with the odd recurring melody, juxtaposed against discordant, unsettling piano. The result is eerily epic, but slightly draining.
Having scored the music for the acclaimed Waltz With Bashir, German-born pianist Max Richter creates nostalgic, almost overwhelming music. Cradle Song For A (Interstate B3), with childlike melodies, is the easiest listen of the Richter songs that feature, offset well by the more experimental slow motion offerings, with morse code and radio calls placed subliminally underneath.
Hauschka, the alias of Düsseldorf-based composer Volker Bertelmann, is by far the most uplifting. Using ‘prepared piano’ (where sound is altered by clamping objects onto the piano strings, for example), the instrument takes a truly narrative role, its voice interwoven into the percussive and characteristically European accompaniment, portraying incredible emotion with no words at all, Blue Bicycle being a standout track.
Sylvain Chauveau’s contributions are made by a piano alone, with surprising effect. La Vie Lointaine quietly enthralls the listener until the album's close. The critically-acclaimed Chauveau is guided by instinct, not classical training. Brooding and epic, this album is a wonderful insight into the orchestral avenue which Fat Cat’s outlet is pursuing. [Lauren Mayberry]