Max Richter Infra

The latest release from German via UK pianist Max Richter, Infra was originally conceived as a score for a Royal Ballet-commissioned piece by Wayne McGregor, based on T.S. Eliot's 1922 modernist poem "The Waste Land." For this FatCat pressing, Infra was expanded from its original 25 minutes to 40, maintaining a palpable sense of dance movement throughout. The album drifts forward with a thorough incorporation of radio tuning and ghostly modulations on the back of Richter's Philip Glass-style, minimalist melodies, weighted by a highly intellectual harmonic structure. One can become so lost in the carefully arranged variety of eerie, noise-based sounds that when traditional instruments like violin and piano are added the transition is often so seamless it can go unnoticed, with Richter using his melodically repetitive, dynamically wavering instrumentation as a vaguely similar type of fluctuating static. As such, the organic sounds emerge due to ethereal conjuring, rather than existing as a tonal counterpoint to the washes of abstractions, drawing the listener in to observe vignettes of quiet sublimity that go otherwise unnoticed in the bustle of modern life. Infra is so beautiful that, as time passes, it may be to Richter what "The Rite of Spring" was to Stravinsky. (Fat Cat)