Intimist, Melancholic
""Monochrome" plunges the listener into a melancholic reverie from which he hardly wants to escape."
CORTO1809 (24.11.2017)  
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The good thing about the so-called "atmospheric" musical style is that it is quite easy to describe. Tempos oscillating between slow and very slow, minimalism of the instrumentarium, vocals most often mezzo voce, haunting and repetitive melodies, so many procedures to create an intimate, muffled, melancholic and dreamy atmosphere. In this case, the famous phrase proves to be very appropriate: if criticism is easy, art is difficult. If it is simple to define, it is much more complicated to make a good atmospheric record.

Certainly, Daniel Cavanagh's first solo album claims to be a product of this school, which is also that of his original band, who has just released this year an album that was very much appreciated by the Music Waves editors, "The Optimist". How will the singer and multi-instrumentalist of Anathema manage to get out of an exercise where it is easy to drag the listener to the depths of boredom?

Because there lies the main pitfall of a very well-defined genre. In the kind of atmospheric music, it's all a question of dosage. The melodies must be repetitive enough to become haunting but not too much to avoid being boring. The tempo must be slow and the instrumental arrangement must be minimalist to evoke reverie but not drowsiness. The interpretation should be melancholic enough to create a feeling of nostalgia without sinking into pathos and ridicule. In short, any artist who indulges in this exercise is always on the edge of the razor and a little can make an album switch from success to failure.

But Daniel Cavanagh masters all the codes of the genre. Contrary to what its title might suggest, "Monochrome" is adorned with an infinity of colors, all in pastel tones, for sure. Minimalist, slow, confidential and melancholic, the album is all that. But it is also full of variations which come to arouse at regular times the interest of the listener: paroxysmal crescendo ('The Exorcist', 'Soho'), magnified female vocals (very beautiful performance all in nuances of Anneke van Giersbergen on 'This Music', 'Soho', 'Oceans of Time'), smooth violin ('The Silent Flight Of The Raven Winged Hours', 'Dawn').

The master of the places sustains a song with sincere melancholy of piano notes as crystalline as skeletal (a five years old child would be able to play practically all the themes), of diaphanous guitar arpeggios and some interventions of bass and percussions well felt. The music is cinematic, evoking in turn a misty and morning landscape, stretches of water on which a timid sun comes out ('Soho') or sandy landscapes, muezzins and minarets ('The Silent Flight Of The Raven Winged Hours').

If one had to criticize the album, it could be that the different themes follow one another without ever trying to intertwine or superimpose them. But the sensitivity of the interpretation and the delicate play of the crescendos-decrescendos make us forget that the album could have been even more successful. In the end, "Monochrome" plunges the listener into a melancholic reverie but without sadness from which he hardly wants to get away.

More informations on

01. The Exorcist (06:43)
02. This Music (04:50)
03. Soho (07:39)
04. The Silent Flight Of The Raven Winged Hours (09:03)
05. Dawn (02:42)
06. Oceans Of Time (08:14)
07. Some Dreams Come True (08:34)

Daniel Cavanagh: Chant / Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Batterie
Anna Phoebe: Invité / Violon (4,5)
Anneke van Giersbergen: Invité / Chant (2,3,6)
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(1) COMMENT(S)    
Autant le dernier Anathema (groupe dont je suis fan) me comble malheureusement d'ennui, et le dernier groupe d'Anneke Van Giesbergen (VUUR) ne me procure strictement aucun frisson, autant cet album solo de Daniel Cavanagh me donne des frissons et est une pure merveille de nostalgie. J'adhère à 200%.
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