The first release of the year and the new decade for 130701 is remastered “Simple” album from Sylvain Chauveau, with it’s release being the first time it has been issued on vinyl. Sylvain is a musical artist that is fond of appearing on different labels including the likes of Type, Schwebung, Sub Rosa, Eilean Rec and Flau to name a few. His music is always changing which makes for an interesting sonic journey that you join. This diversity is on display in this collection of material recording between 1998-2010 with his attention focused on creating for film and dance. The pieces included are from the following films and dance pieces: “Des Plumes Dans La Tête” (Feathers In My Head), “Alting Bliver Godt Igen” (Everything Will Be Fine), “Beast”, “Notre Etrangère” (In Between Places) and “Au Nombre Des Choses” (A Thing Among Things).
“Having been active since the late ‘90s, Sylvain Chauuveau is an unsung pioneer of a now burgeoning post-classical scene. He was making elegant post-classical compositions years ahead of the pack, getting there before much heralded current peers like Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, Dustin O’Halloran, or Goldmund. His third album, the gorgeously minimal ‘Un Autre Décembre’ (recorded in 2001) was the second release on FatCat’s 130701 imprint and, arriving a year ahead of Max Richter’s ‘Blue Notebooks’, and played a huge role in helping define the label’s identity. Sylvain Chauveau was born in 1971 in Bayonne, France, and currently lives in Brussels. After several years singing and playing guitar in rock bands, Chauveau decided, in 1998, to dedicate his time to a solo project with three main ideas – staying as close as possible to the abstract beauty of ‘silence’; making sure that each sound committed is absolutely necessary; and finding his own roots within his cultural and personal history.
In November 2012, Sylvain released ‘Simple’, his second album for 130701 – a diverse, yet fully cohesive collection of of out-of-print, rare, and unreleased tracks composed for cinema between 1998-2010. In 2020 the album will be reissued in a remastered, first-ever vinyl edition. Chauveau’s work here sounds as fresh and relevant today as it did when first created and we believe that its author is long overdue some recognition and a reappraisal of his role in helping prepare the ground for today’s scene.”
Naturally collecting pieces from film scores sees an array of short pieces with only three, “Au Nombre Des Choses”, “Within The Orderly Life” and “Le Brasier De Tristesse” passing the three minute mark. Short run times of pieces can have different effects in other styles and indeed feel, but within a film score setting they feel like distillations of moods and emotions and like the onscreen action and dialogue, they have a way of adding another layer communication with the audience. For this reason they need to able to convey as much as they can in this short time with the greatest of effect.
Listening to the album you understand that the above press quote that links the importance of Chauveau’s work on the burgeoning Modern Classical scene is not hyperbole. To put it into perspective, Nils Frahm didn’t release his first album to 2005 and Ólafur Arnalds put out his first in 2007. While not released as an album until 2012, the pieces in retrospect are the sound of an artist and a genre well and truly finding their feet. Tracks like “Anthracite” step out of the Modern Classical sphere for a more texture and sound scaping touch, while the title track of the film “Notre Etrangère” takes in Chauveau’s past experiences working in bands, with it’s guitar led almost acoustic post rock feel. The remix of Pulseprogramming’s “Within The Orderly Life” (originally on “Tulsa For One Second Remix Project”, 2005) nicely marries piano and electronics while creating an interesting minimal background.
Then you have a piece like “Strangers Forever” with it’s string section that fits in so much in it’s ninety-three second duration that other artists would be positively jealous about. Pieces like this is what makes such a genre as Modern Classical or even score music such a thrill to listen to, because even in it’s brevity it has the ability to convey so much. The majority of the pieces on the album are within the Modern Classical framework, but pieces like “Murmur” are like the work he later explored in the likes of 0 or Ensemble 0 and his collaboration with Cyril Secq while explore more Ambient/Drone territory on “The Plot”. All these different styles don’t detract from each other in a compilation of his work. Instead they help illuminate what it is to be a composer with a variety of influences, approaches, techniques and instruments at his disposal.
The title itself reflects the decision to enjoy this record. It really is that simple. If you are a fan of music that is grand, but not overpowering, varied , but not for the hell of it and effortlessly good then you will find great value in this re-issue. The intention of the label is to shine a light on an artist that hasn’t necessarily received the accolades that are due him and a release like this, simply (pardon the pun) should hopefully open more ears to what a talented composer he is. “Simple” is re-issued on Vinyl, CD and digital on January 17 and is well worth checking out.