When the relatively short opening track from “Digressions” slowly fades into the second track, “Caden Cotard”, an unexpected, jaw-dropping massiveness starts to build – a full orchestral sound that I did not expect to hear on this third Greg Haines album.
It’s not ‘loud’, it’s not ‘noise’ – it’s beautifully restrained, but it’s just…massive.
But then, within the same track, the intensity drops to a much quieter level to become much more intimate.
With this flow of tension and release, “Digressions” somehow compares to a post-rock album, however with a different instrumentation.
Musically, it feels more like it’s a full classical symphony.
Part of this is of course due to the fact that lot of the basic material was recorded with the Theale Green Community School Chamber Orchestra. (Aside: I was quite surprised to read that Martin Rushent recorded these orchestral parts).
These orchestral parts were reworked and reshaped, with additional help of some of his famous friends: Dustin O’Halloran, Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm.
“183 Times” , with a remarkable violin solo performance by Iden Reinhart, directly links to some of Arvo Pärt’s work. At other moments (like in “Azure”) the slow but inevitable crescendo could’ve been part of a Sigur Ros performance.
Greg Haines proves himself a master of this kind of dynamics.
Combining different basic forms to a full scale symphony like this, “Digressions” defies all contemporary genre definitions.
Best just call this work “Classic“… in all possible senses.
(BTW: the Fluid-Radio website has featured an extensive interview with Greg Haines about recording this album.)
Greg Haines – 183 Times