Sunday, July 12, 2020
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cover
Artist: Olivier Alary
Title: Fiction / Non-Fiction
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: 130701
Fiction / Non-Fiction is selected highlights from Olivier’s film score work over the last decade, since hanging up the boots of his Ensemble alias that had released work on Rephlex and Alias.

Detached from any mention of the films or scenes to which these scores apply, what’s left is a collection of seventeen short atmospheric pieces that blend lush, slow and soft orchestral sounds with extremely sparing and sympathetic use of electronics, effects, and gentle drones. These are moods, that do not appear from what I can hear to be tied, either slavishly or loosely, to on-screen cues like you would find in many scores.

Two different film orchestras, a choir, a string quartet and guest appearances from pianists on “Arrivée” and “Dancing Bottle” and a saxophonist on “Yu Shui” and “Flooding” give things an incredibly rich and beautiful tone. Technically this may not be a debut album, but few debut albums can live up to the production quality- and probably the budget- of this.

Despite being a compilation, there’s a consistency here so strong that you could believe this was all score from a single movie- albeit a movie with a near-constant sense of melancholy and very few jokes in it. The artwork, a broad, tree-lined and deeply grey implication of endless journeying, is very apt.

Highlights include the suspense of “Juanicas”, the traditional but still powerful sorrow-strings of “Flooding”, and the faint echoes of Philip Glass in “Pulses”.

It’s a stunning collection, if slightly lacking in emotional diversity, and when I become a hotshot film director making a tear-jerking film about beautiful emptiness, I now know who to turn to for the score.

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