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 David-Guillou has reworked for organ a selection of tracks from her mesmerising sophomore album, En Mouvement.
Titled Mouvements Organiques, these five pieces echo the ideas and motifs of its counterpart. Yet, where En Mouvement is often busy with the interlocking melodies and shifting rhythms that define its character, Mouvements Organiques pares the music down to its essential qualities.
‘Vraisemblance’ has been transformed into three sprawling ambient pieces, ‘Mouvements Organiques’, parts I, II and III, drawing out its harmonic movement and expanding it almost beyond recognition. ‘En Mouvement’ and ‘Respiro’, meanwhile, retain much of their identity, yet take on new, restored forms in the hands of Angèle.
Informed by a rich and eclectic tapestry of cultural stimuli, including Philip Glass’s ‘Glassworks,’ the music for movement of Thomas De Hartmann and George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Alvin Curran's compositions for the piano, French and Spanish Baroque music, the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Jean Cocteau, Sufi writings, Sumerian art and contemporary dance, the pieces on ‘En Mouvement’ are the work of a reflective, intellectually engaged yet delightfully instinctive modern composer who has made the limitless mutability implied by the concept of ‘movement’ a thing of personal transformation and mesmeric musicality.
With her second album of modern composition, Angèle David-Guillou’s career is palpably en movement, and, excitingly, it feels like the beginning of a long and thrillingly creative musical journey.
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.
Download the beautiful Angèle David-Guillou version of Adrian Corkers' 'Interdependence' now.