Friday is always new release day, but I have a mix of things to cover after our break last week, and all artists new to NMR – at least I think so, after 7 years and 1000’s of features I get confused myself sometimes.
Arttu Silvast is a Finnish composer, music editor and music journalist who works for the Finnish Broadcasting Company in Helsinki. He cites some great influences, notably the amazing Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, Olafur Arnalds and Brian Eno. Oh and Vangelis too.
His new album ‘Polarity’ was released a few weeks ago, and what I like about it is that it feels such a complete, coherent composition. I often comment that I find some ‘neo-classical’ pieces we get sent a little too fleeting, nice ideas that are not quite developed far enough. Of course this is probably because I want everything to sound like a Bruckner Symphony, and clearly ‘Polarity’ isn’t on that scale either. But it’s a beautiful fluid release, where the individual tracks just naturally flow together.
I’d recommend you just yourself lost in the complete album, but a number of tracks still stand out, including ‘Svalbard’ for the beautiful violin and cello solo’s and the calming and tranquil ‘Clouds over Tynemouth’.
However title track ‘Polaris’ is a particular highlight, opening with a beautifully phrased piano melody, but then developed with a string crescendo and building slowly, before he throws the instrumental kitchen sink at the climax of the piece. I almost want it to be longer and that build up to be even more intense and gradual.
Yet the transition to the ambient ‘Glacier Bay’ feels so natural too, whilst ‘Sabertooth’ feels minimalist and melancholy, but then changes direction with a jazz influenced fluidity. It ends with ‘Maris Tenebris’, where the textures of the strings hint at something slightly foreboding to start, but then transition into another fluid if melancholy melody.
'Polaris' is highly recommended anyway, and Arttu Silvast has written an interesting set of tracks with powerful performances from the musicians, and lovely production and sound quality throughout.