Published Jan 24, 2020Electronic music has always enjoyed a close relationship to classical composition. After Léon Theremin created his revolutionary namesake instrument in the 1920s, it was popularized by virtuoso Clara Rockmore, who played it as expertly as a violin in her renditions of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and the like. In 1968, Wendy Carlos released Switched-On Bach, an album of tunes by Johann Sebastian Bach created on a Moog synthesizer that went on to become the first gold record in electronic music history, and eventually the second-ever classical album to earn platinum sales status. Even today, when you look at popular neoclassical composers like Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds, synths are typically a featured part of their ensembles.
Continuing the traditional genre blend, the inspiration for InBach by anonymous French electro acoustic techno project Arandel can be clearly traced. Following the commission of a half-hour piece presented at the 2017 Nuit Blanche Festival, which highlighted the obscure recordings and unique instrumentation housed at the Musée de la Musique in Paris, Arandel performed a hybrid DJ set at Cite de la Musique Hall that was based on Carlos's seminal work.
With all of that experience and access in hand, InBach sees Arandel channelling some of the finest moments from Bach's classical repertoire through instrumentation from the Musée de la Musique, collaborations with the likes of Ben Shemie, Petra Haden, Areski, and Vanessa Wagner, and their own dedication to analogue synths without MIDI or samplers.
For every breath of the organic, like the plaintive reverberant piano of "Sonatina" or the string-laden Blonde Redhead-like dirge-rock of "Bluette," there are exhalations of experimental rave tokes like the simmering main stage arpeggios of "Prelude No 2 in C Minor" or the deep house circus vibe of "Passacaglia." InBach is as innovative as it is familiar, a work of unerring thoughtfulness, timeless beauty and astonishing joy. (InFiné Music)