M. RICHTER Infra 4793316
. . . a haunting [score] . . .
. . . gorgeous . . . [the 13 tracks on "Infra"] are fragile, awe-inspiring, well-crafted compositions that will mesmerise . . . every track on "Infra" has been thought out in an incredibly precise fashion . . . This, coupled with Richter's comprehensive understanding of the discipline in crafting modern classical music -- as layer, texture and melody are combined to charming effect -- lead to "Infra" being a fine example of how minimalist, contemporary ambient music should sound: strong, yet unimposing.
. . . [all of Richter's] previous albums command your attention and "Infra", expanded from the soundtrack to a 2008 ballet of the same name, is no different . . . While the pace hardly fluctuates wildly, the constant twists and turns create an emotional collage that's stunning: expect to be left contemplative and euphoric in equal measure.
. . . the Berlin-based composer has something of an intuitive knack for combining the most abstruse elements into melodic soundscapes of heartfelt immediacy and impact.
"Infra" is a delicate album . . . a haunting collection of piano and string-led melodies . . . Richter has an unequivocal ability to evoke irrational and disproportionately strong emotions with such simplicity and minimalistic composition . . . evocative music.
. . . the restraint with which Richter uses, and how he arranges his minimal palette of sounds is unmatched by the majority of modern composers . . . [on "Infra" you'll find Richter's] ethereal electronic presses and deeply sentimental keys and string beds here in plenty, all arranged with the restraint and knack for proper placing that has characterized most of the composer's work of the last decade . . . it's a beautiful sound . . . "Infra" is such a satisfying release: it's classic Richter, definitely, but it's more than that . . . [while keeping his core sound intact, he's added] a new dimension to his electronic experimentation and varying moods . . .
. . . to call it a soundtrack is to diminish "Infra's" scope. The album plays out its own cinematic vision without the need for visual crutches . . . the music herein stands on its own . . . Indeed, the sense of travelling over a bleak and windswept landscape is overpowering . . . and the product is something of a marvel. The analogue tape provides a markedly non-modern warmth -- especially in the days of the digitally downloaded, computer-recorded track . . . And sonic space is conveyed beautifully, creating a jarringly immersive depth of field . . . But listen; occasionally the chamber music makes its way through the static to tinge it with a solemn and indomitable beauty . . . [the individual pieces] careen wildly between majestic beauty and peaceful reticence . . . Most striking about "Infra" is the lyrical quality of its music, the way Richter conveys such complex emotion on the backs of such minimal composition . . . One cannot listen to "Infra" without feeling something, whether it be a melancholic sadness or a quiet, hopeful joy . . . "Infra" stands as a staggering achievement, and as an album in its own right.
. . . ["Infra" further solidifies Richter's] reputation as one of Britain's most versatile and identifiable classical voices . . . the virtuosity of Richter's piano playing is undeniable and forms the centre piece of much of "Infra". His approach is fundamentally quite traditional but always includes his hallmark sense of mystery and suspense . . . a shape-shifting but coherent whole that is at times hauntingly beautiful . . . ["Infra 2"] is Richter at his most intimate and spine-tinglingly sparse . . . The beautifully sparse "Infra 6" is a delight, stripping away layers of strings to reveal a barebones piano composition exploring a familiar melody with a new chordal structure . . . Throughout "Infra", Richter's skill lies in his ability to re-emphasise and reinterpret, to construct an instrumental dialogue and a kind of imagined narrative through repetition and subtle alteration . . . Music like this can be the soundtrack to your imagination if you let it in.
I hear Richter's music first as night music, sound that makes darkness feel alive . . . His music both captures a specific atmosphere and also feels internal. "Infra" fairly brims with these qualities . . . His work has an amazing ability to interact with and elevate banality . . . such juxtapositions still have the power to turn the everyday rigmarole we're seeing onscreen into something emotionally charged . . . The more mundane the activity and the more achingly gorgeous the music, the more we feel the effect. And this music is achingly gorgeous . . . "Infra" works as an enveloping and moving work even absent any knowledge of its beginnings . . . it is some of Richter's very best work. And if you've ever cared about his music, it will make you feel something.
. . . "Infra" stands wonderfully on its own . . . it's with the five-minute "Infra 5" that "Infra" really comes into its own. The climax of the album, although there are three more brief tracks to come after it, here Richter pits his most moving string quartet arrangement against howling electronic dissonance, building to an almost-painful crescendo that's cathartic and harrowing in equal measure . . . By adding just the right amount of static to the sugar of his sweeping arrangements, Richter's created an album that's precisely balanced between accessibility and depth, desolation and joy, melody and noise.
This is Richter's forte; this is Richter's pianoforte on "Infra 3" that is so ruthlessly emotive it could be used as a sonic weapon . . . "Infra" proceeds naturally from his former releases, with its brightest moments (such as "Infra 5") feeling much like a "November" that has been tweaked and tortured into a different assembly of the same parts . . . gorgeous . . .
. . . Richter is capable of eliciting profound emotions from the barest of foundations . . .
Richter's soundtrack is an absorbing blend of shortwave-style droning transmissions, beautiful string ensemble pieces and piano compositions . . . "Infra" proves Richter's versatility and searchingly experimental drive as a composer, pitching that ideal balance between ear-bending sounds capes and all-out heartbreak. Highly recommended.
Dance piece and composition, soundscape and ambient dreamworld, chamber music, Electronica and ambitious sonic experiment -- "Infra" is all of these things at once and, by combining them into new, meaningful permutations, a lot more to boot . . . [Richter has created] a twisted helix of musical molecules relating to each other in a plethora of intricate ways . . . ["Infra"] creates a sense of intriguing complexity. One constantly finds oneself puzzling about the roots of a particular passage, and uncovering links between different sections of the album is part of the pleasure . . . "Infra" aligns rather than refracts these tendencies into a seamlessly unified vocabulary.
"Infra" is a journey in 13 episodes, emerging from a blur of static and finding its way in a repeated phrase that grows in loveliness . . . this expanded score for piano, electronics and string quintet largely speaks to Richter fans, but it is also one for the archive of minimalism.
Falling in love with Max Richter's music is easy . . . Beautiful and simple melodies soar through the air with orchestral precision, neo-classical progression and heartbreaking execution . . . The sweeping melodies will pull your soul apart . . . highly recommended.
. . . languorously transcendent . . .
. . . a warmly resonant piece, perhaps Richter's fullest exploration of textures to date . . . exceptionally rewarding . . . the final sections display a haunting beauty . . . It's a haunting peace that ends a beautifully disquieting sequence. And, for Richter, it's both a return to form and an impressive expansion of what has come before.