Petre Inspirescu is Radu Dumitru Bodiu, a Romanian producer who has released on labels like Cadenza and Vinyl Club. In 2007 he set up a label, [a:rpia:r], with fellow minimal enthusiasts Rhadoo and Raresh. As a group, these Romanian producers have seen their profiles grow in the last few years from hometown favourites to international bookings.
Despite having his own label, ‘Vin Ploile’ comes courtesy of Mule Musiq, a label specialising in nu-disco cuts and run by Japanese promoter Toshiya Kawasaki. DJ Sprinkles, Frank and Tony, Daniel Bortz and Steve Bug have all released on Mule Musiq, so Inspirescu is in good company as he abandons his own label in favour of murkier waters. On ‘Vin Ploile’, Inspirescu traces minimal techno to its melodic roots whilst working in the previously unexplored territory between minimal and classical to create a rather special collection of tracks.
Inspirescu’s past works have focused on fusing expansive chamber music with minimal techno and analogue sounds. ‘Vin Ploile’ sounds like the natural culmination of this project. It’s simply not one of those non-dance, possibly ambient albums, by a dance-floor orientated producer who is interested in expanding outside of the 4/4 template.
Inspirescu incorporates a sparse use of live instrumentation: piano, strings, wind and percussion, along with analogue electronics, aid him in finding a middle ground between the expressive elements of both minimal techno and classical music. ‘Vin Ploile’ does not seek to recreate the minimal techno sound with live instrumentation, what it achieves is a synthesis of two foreign spheres that sounds like an entirely natural pairing.
Minimal techno has always worked around a pretty static template. Aside from a solid, sparse beat, producers like Petre Inspirescu use stabs of melody – like brass in Margaret Dygas’ ‘Frankly’ or guitar on Social Being’s ‘Free Your Mind’ - to break away from potential monotony. On ‘Vin Ploile’, Petre identifies and exploits this historical melodic streak. No longer is the melody relegated to the job of simply emphasising the rhythmic elements of the beat - the melody takes centre stage. Each track, or movement, contains some element of rhythm, and whilst this rhythm might only be half there it is always the backbone of the track: a focal point around which copious instrumentation unfolds. On top of this, a variety of emotive passages appear to the listener.
The album consists of seven ‘Delirs’, which translates from Romanian to ‘deliriums’, or ‘ecstasies’. ‘Delir 1’ is claustrophobic, its minimal elements bubbling behind an almost-not-there guitar line. ‘Delir 2’, on the other hand, sounds like it was recorded in a chapel, with the aid of a baroque choir and a full chamber ensemble. Its choral parts are oddly reminiscent of the sinister grandeur of Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’, before a rising synth line emerges and rolling kettledrums bring the track to a close. A constant in all this tonal variety is the synthetic clatter that underlies the organic instruments in the mix. ‘Vin Ploile’ is almost entirely beatless in one sense, but in another it is run through with pattering samples that act as the driving force the behind the tracks.
As a complete work, the album really stands out from the crowd. ‘Vin Ploile’ demonstrates how Inspirescu is able to take analogue music far from its home on the dancefloor with an ease only matched by other, more-explicitly classical composers like Max Richter. Although you can see its roots in minimal, ‘Vin Ploile’ is, at its heart, a more abstract, less easily defined affair than many contemporary efforts. It would appear more at home filed next to the works of Can, Nicolas Jaar and Max Richter as opposed to those of Ricardo Villalobos or Akufen. Evidently, the LP’s aim is not to create a propulsive dynamic collection of tracks. Lacking those elements, other musical motifs must maintain the listener's interest. Inspirescu consistently manages to do this with his diverse palate of sounds, both analogue and organic, the only notable misstep being ‘Delir 4’, which ambles without purpose, devoid of any particularly interesting melodic features.
But aside from that, ‘Vin Ploile’ manages to be a truly engaging and expressive experience in a way that many other experimental works fail to be. ‘Delir 7’ is a highlight in this sense – a moving track in which distant strings evoke an unidentifiable feeling of melancholy and which includes what sounds like the clanging of pots and pans. It’s strangely, yet undeniably, affecting music. Final track ‘Pan’la Glezne’ closes the album out while sounding eerily similar to the ceremonial last post on the bugle – whilst throbbing synths create an air of emotive intensity. The track bookends an album that at times strays from the path but always asks the listener to stray with it.
Words: Alex Green
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