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brian mcbride - The Effective Disconnect
Stars Of The Lid's Brian McBride was recruited by filmmakers George Langworthy and Maryam Henein for the soundtrack to their documentary film The Vanishing Of The Bees. Not having seen the film, we can only really take The Effective Disconnect on its own terms, as a standalone project, and in that sense it's certainly an enormous success. McBride has stated that his intention was to create a number of enclosed, self-contained suites rather than what he himself calls "the more continuous architecture employed in my previous recordings", and this results in what's arguably a more varied and structurally focussed album than his previous solo long-player (2005's When Detail Lost Its Freedom). McBride's remarkable slow-motion orchestration remains a powerful force - something that's much imitated by the current generation of ambient and modern classical artists. There's nothing quite like the real thing though, and McBride's genre-blurring work on the wonderful three-part string composition 'Toil Theme' and shorter sequences such as 'Chamber Minuet' make for an incredibly moving listen. Perhaps unusually for this artist, there are moments of spine-tingling optimism running through the tracklist: the album's opening couplet ('Mélodrames Télégraphiés (in B major 7th)' parts one and two) and 'Supposed Essay on the Piano (B major piano Adagietto)' find McBride in a guardedly upbeat mode, with the latter in particular standing out for its uplifting use of horns. Excellent stuff from one of the ambient/classical scene's greatest exponents.