Suddenly, the neoclassical is no longer just the music that we put on when we have insomnia... It is a music that crowds concert halls, sells astronomical figures of records and, above all, has its own star system. A star system that is already in its second generation.
We have spent much of the last two decades underlining that we like electronic music because it refers to tribal and primitive rhythms that anciently beat in our blood. And, in this repeated use of the fluorescent marker, we preferred to ignore that electronics are more like a hydra with a thousand heads, and that one of the heads that has received the most attention lately is the one that connects certain digital genres with classical music. Or, as it has been called for some time, the neoclassical.
Suddenly, musicians like Ólafur Arnalds cram gigantic places. Jóhann Jóhannsson's death is cried massively. Nobody arches an eyebrow when Max Richter recomposes The Four Seasons of Vivaldi... And, in between, a whole set of musicians are digging the contours of the path of something like the second generation of the neoclassical. A generation that would follow that of Ludovico Einaudi and Luke Howard and, above all, is using its fresh blood to take the mix of classic instruments with spacious drones, steamy synths and many other ambient sound features that have been so well practiced by electronics all this time.
It could be said that the memory of the tribal in electronics pleased us because it started something very savage from the depths of our being. And that, in comparison, this fever for the neoclassical appeals much more to the spirit, to the intangible. To the soul. Much of classical music was about seeking the epiphany that would bring us closer to God... And, in this XXIst century in which there is no longer one God, but each one embraces their own beliefs, it is normal that we also need music that brings us closer to our most sensitive and human side. That's what the neoclassical is about. And that is also what the five examples of artists who are sublimating it with their latest works are about.
A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN. Dustin O'Halloran carries behind him several albums of intimate and disarming piano. Adam Wiltzie is known for the thrill of his Stars of the Lid project. Together, they call themselves A Winged Victory for the Sullen and are Max Richter's natural relay.
ELUVIUM. Confirmation may not be necessary that Matthew Cooper has spent more than a decade preparing the ground for the neoclassical since the ambient, but it doesn't matter: last year, Eluvium published his Pianoworks. And everything made sense.
FRANCISCO TRISTANO. Tristano is a pianist, but also a dj. His music is sometimes pure and hard classical, although other times he plays jazz and does not drop his rings when it comes to digital treatment of everything he does. The most adventurous of his generation? Probably.
GOLDMUND. The sound basis of most of Keith Kenniff's songs is the piano. Classical. Pure and simple. The interesting thing is that, on this basis, Goldmund builds true sound cathedrals that defy the notion of classicism and get wrapped up in digital touches.
NILS FRAHM. If there is someone who is introducing the new generations into the neoclassical, it must be Nils Frahm. And the interesting thing is that it does not from the great electronic gesture, but from a warm intimacy and a lush palette of emotions.