London-based French composer Angèle David-Guillou makes audacious music that explores the interaction between rhythm and melody, structure and emotion, permanence and change. Her work is one of incessant dialogue between these elements, creating hypnotic compositions whose mutable internal architecture and shifting melodic accentuations immediately draw the listener in, while constantly, almost imperceptibly, disorienting auditory perception.
It’s a compositional process that is central to the eight compelling essays on the aptly titled En Mouvement, David-Guillou’s new album, the second under her given name, but it’s an approach that was present even in her earlier singer-songwriting work as Klima, and with cult electronic art-rock band Piano Magic. Already here, her signature writing style is characterised by asymmetric bar lengths, irregular verse constructions and zoetrope-like arrangements – an approach to music as implicitly indebted to the canon of innovative rock and pop, Philip Glass’s Music With Changing Parts or early European Baroque music.
Angèle's debut album under her given name is a largely instrumental work, predominantly consisting of melodically opulent, emotionally compelling compositions for the grand piano (and, on three songs, a Wurlitzer electric piano), many of them emblazoned with vivid arrangements for strings, woodwind, musical saw and percussion. The album is named in tribute to feted Ivorian novelist Ahmadou Kourouma, and many of its dozen, exquisitely realised essays are inspired as much by literature, both European and African, as they are by musical precedents. While nodding, melodically and thematically, to the work of Anna Marly (Russian-born French composer of 'Le Partisan', as famously covered by Leonard Cohen), the hauntingly poignant title track.