Boomkat Product Review:
Masterful solo debut by Rupert Clervaux, regular collaborator with Beatrice Dillon, including the voice of Breadwoman alongside Clervaux’s own in a dreamlike recital of his poetry, set to a mix of wonderfully hypnagogic and unpredictable music backdrops ranging from twilight ambient to traces of Detroit techno, decayed solo piano, and spirited free jazz...
“‘After Masterpieces’ sets six recitals of Rupert’s poetry in unique, unpredictable and expansive musical scenery. The enigmatic and densely compacted texts, reworked and gently honed throughout the album’s slow creation, find an aerial perspective from which a lifetime of reading, listening and thinking is carefully re-mapped. The broad thematic scope takes in aesthetics, ancient mythologies, the origins of language and music, epistemology and ecology––to name just a few––all of which remain tightly intertwined, resistant to abstraction, and imbued with a sense of inquisitive ambiguity which treats all certainty with suspicion: the listener is invited to find their own threads, draw their own conclusions and think their own thoughts––as Anna Homler once aptly said of her own work, “…it’s not didactic, it’s poetic.”
Initially deriving its impetus from the mood and rhythm of the words, the album’s music utilises a wide-array of performance and production techniques. Clervaux draws on his full range of musical interests, creating long-form pieces that at turns support the recitals and then lead the way for the instrumental swathes within and between them. The sounds of ‘After Masterpieces’ revolve through the melodic ambience of ‘Her Fingers of Pink Light’; the dark electronics and multi-layered samples of ‘In Shadowlands of Like and Likeness’; the tentative interplay of piano and voice on ‘Damper and Drum’; and the riff-like patterned percussion and free improvisation of ‘Make Nature Speak.’ As the LP draws to a close, Homler and Bull join Rupert on ‘L’amore che Muove il Sole’—a sprawling anti-hymn, echoing the structure of ‘The Divine Comedy’, which discovers, in place of Dante’s heavenly paradise, a fragile optimism for positive change in the wreckage of failed grand narratives.”