Max Richter 
The Blue Notebooks
/fat cat; 2004/



more info:

"If I were another person observing myself and the course of my life, I should be compelled to say that it must all end unavailingly, be consumed in incessant doubt, creative only in its self-torment. But, an interested party, I go on hoping."

(Franz Kafka, 25 February 1915)

It's a real achievement to get out of bed before midday, especially in winter. Stumbling downstairs to make some coffee, you think: What was that dream about? Wandering around in a Giorgio di Chirico landscape hiding from huge seagulls crying eerily in the night. Then there's a knock at the door - it's my landlady: "Where's the fucking rent, you lazy cunt?"

Waking-up music is an undervalued genre. An auditory bridge between dreaming and wakefulness all depends on variable circumstances: the season, the weather, whether you're alone, what you have to do that day (if applicable) - and really, you don't want to think about which album to put on at 11am - it's hard work first thing.

For a while it was Monade - short and sweet and after coffee and a cigarette (or two) I felt ready to have a shower and wake up properly to face the rictus grin of the world outside. Lately though I've found listening to The Blue Notebooks to be a good way to minimize the horror of waking up.

It's a dreamy journey: slow strings, melancholy piano, Phantom of the Opera organ all mixed with found sounds, rustic and industrial (but not too industrial.) Occasionally Tilda Swinton will read from Kafka and the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and you sway into a kind of Eastern European reverie and think: Wouldn't it be nice to live in Prague? Or a little town far away? Or anywhere but England? (Anywhere in Central Europe.) Richter's music makes you feel that you aren't the only person in the world who thinks and feels about things like this. When you're with someone you like and you don't need to speak because you don't need to say anything and you're quiet together. (I hope this makes some sense.)

Released on the FatCat imprint 130701 (which features Set Fire to Flames and Toulouse's Sylvain Chauveau), this album is another example of FatCat's commitment to new and interesting music. In the words of Kate Bush: "You must wake up."

-Andrew Russell

/mar 1st 2004/