Sherlock co-composer offers a stirring solo debut...
'Entanglement'

More than 20 years into a career as a composer - including work across the worlds of dance, television and the bright lights of Hollywood - Michael Price has decided the time is right for releasing his first ever true solo record.

Built on an urge to explore the product of a group of musicians responding to each other's actions without too many constraints, and written whilst tinkering with the vast swathes of equipment at Abbey Road, 'Entanglement' is clearly a rather special endeavour for an artist who's already had plenty of highs.

Crafted over two years and ultimately recorded in Berlin, the album is a fascinating set featuring the melding of conventional piano and strings and rather more curious tape effects, modular synths and electronic burbles. There is a genuine darkness pervading this record that is simultaneously chilling and indescribably moreish. As much as this collection of instruments can so often deliver the hair-raising tricks we expect, these pieces feel more resonant, more entrenched. The surface level thrills are there, but the impact lingers.

'Easter' will naturally connect with fans of the Erased Tapes stable of artists – Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick have been in similar territory before – so endearing is its spacious, glacial melody. Indeed, it might have better occupied the title of the subsequent track, 'Little Warm Thing', which is anything but, swelling in a manner that feels like a punch in the guts. The emotional clout of this music is quite staggering and, even after a dozen listens, it consistently has the capacity to genuinely manipulate your mood.

The record was inspired by Price's love of all things scientific, mulling on how such clarity and order can provide figurative insight into human behaviour. Such unlikely pairings were also considered in the assembly of the music. Parts of 'The Attachment' were recorded onto a 1940s magnetic disc recorder, adding an eerily grainy quality to the sound that is slowly subsumed by vivid strings which deliver an astoundingly intense counterpoint.

Two of the tracks feature vocals - in both cases from soprano Ashley Knight - using English translations of Japanese poetry exploring loss. 'Maitri' swirls, with vocal parts overlapping, while 'The Uncertainty Principle' lives up to its title, gradually disorienting the listener as it progresses.

Despite the minimal use of voice, the instrumental title track has an emphatic, grandiose drive to it that feels almost lyrical, gathering the album to a statuesque conclusion. 

8/10

Words: Gareth James

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