Title: I Did My HomeWorks N°1
Artist: Antistase & Music AutOmatik
Release Date: 24 Jan 2014 / Oct 2013
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Kahvi Collective
So, remember that thing that I occasionally have issues with about reviewing releases that are older? And, know how I say that sometimes a work is exceptional enough that it merits being treated as a special case? Well, Fabien G. Brillant is one such case because he really did his homework.
He Really Did His Homework
In fact, as I have been learning, Fabien is really something of an exception that breaks all my rules, but only in the best of ways. He’s been recording for at least five years, and has been producing many other artistic works. At first his music was released under the name Music AutOmatiK, on the Oninim label. With the closure of that label, he is now releasing his work under the name Antistase.
This release collects a series of pieces from 2005 through 2013. Many of them re-works, re-mixes or re-masterings of previous works from other recordings. According to his notes about the release:
I was looking at my computer
with a modest bottle of red wine
and I realized that I’ve been produced
more sounds that I had imagined,
I suddenly decided to take my week end
and make an album, to share
all this harmonies with you
and not let it end on an hard drive,
somewhere, in a “cupboard”.
Indeed! This is the work of someone who has not only studied and done his homework, this is the production of someone who is a master. It would have been a shame to have these works locked up in a cupboard someplace, only to be found (and possibly not appreciated) after Fabien was no longer able to share them with us. That he made the choice to spend a weekend and produce this recording, we should all be extremely grateful for. And, more so, we should be thankful that Kahvi recognized the value of Fabien’s work and released them on their label!
The range of works on this release is astonishing. Everything from a minimal dubstep piece, to pure acoustic piano jazz, to trip-hop classical works, and so many styles it’s nearly impossible to list them all.
Some of my favorite tracks include ‘Je vois les justes’, ‘Brett Sunshine’ which reminds me of LTJ Bukem, and ‘Lendemain’ a pure piano jazz piece that reminds me of Thelonious Monk, or Art Tatum. In fact, some of his influences have been as diverse as Eric Satie, Herbie Hancock and DJ Shadow.
These works are diverse in their breadth of statement as well. Quite a few clock in under three minutes long, while several stretch out to the six minute range. It’s wonderful to hear an artist that is as comfortable producing compact and very focused miniatures (ala Satie or Grieg), while able to stretch out and still maintain focused clarity of his work.
This is an amazing set of pieces. Some of them quite miniature, and extremely well focused. Others stretch out a bit, and allow the listener to hear a fully realized larger composition. The range of styles is simply breathtaking. It’s almost like a music history lesson borrowing for all corners of classical music, jazz, turntablism, and electronica.
However, while this might be like a music history lesson, he really did his homework in another way. Fabien has not forgotten that each of the pieces that he releases has to be engaging, interesting and entertaining for the listener. And this release succeeds many many times over. No matter how many times I’ve listened to this work, I want to come back and listen to it again. That is the sign of an excellent release in my book.