Maxence Cyrin Returns with NOVO PIANO II; Plays LPR This June
Having drawn attention with his original compositions, arrangements and covers, French pianist Maxence Cyrin is back with Novö Piano II in which, with emotion and mischievousness, he takes a new look at the pop-rock repertoire of the '80s and '90s, from The Cure to Björk, by way of Soundgarden and Van Halen.
Basically, what makes for the quality of a cover? The interpretation, transcription, arrangement? Not only. A cover is, of course, a way for a musician to embody the emotion felt when listening to a given artist, as well as a means for translating the attachment that links him to his past. The quality of Maxence Cyrin's arrangements, whether focusing on pop or techno hits, stems from this form of distant and amorous relation he has with 'certain rarities, certain favorite titles and not just hits' that have punctuated his existence, such as Dominique A's "Le courage des oiseaux," The Cure's "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep," Björk's "Hyperballad" or trip-hop's cult title Rob D's "Clubbed to Death."
"In the 19th century, they were already making piano reductions of orchestral works, and today many pianists do the same thing, reproducing the rock repertoire note by note. Although I sometimes remain faithful to the vocal melody, my work goes further: it's a matter of adapting the piece, making a real arrangement, appropria- ting it while respecting its original spirit. I take inspiration as much from Chopin and 19th-century Romanticism as from the modernism of the early 20th, without forgetting to draw on French chanson, jazz, pop or techno. For example, my arrangement of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" draws on Ravel and jazz, and Van Halen's " ump" is dominated by a rhythmic play in which the whole-tone scale recalls Satie or Debussy.' Primarily instrumental, Novö Piano II is however marked by two moments of vocal grace, when the pianist is joined by Miss Kittin or Frantic. The former interprets Grace Jones's "Walking in the Rain" (1981) in 'talk-over' mode, and the latter, Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face" (1984) in an extremely sensual register.
Finally, Novö Piano II has a warm, natural sound, characteristic of recording engineer Nicolas Bartholomée's work, but it is even more distinctive for 'the coloured, melodious sound, with its dazzling timbre and deep basses' of the Fazioli piano on which it was recorded.
Tracklisting: Clubbed to Death (Rob D.), Le Courage des Oiseaux (Dominique A), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (The Cure), Walking in the Rain, feat. Miss Kittin (Grace Jones), Lovely Head (Goldfrapp), Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden), Hyperballad (Björk), Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Gavin Bryars), Eyes Without a Face, feat. Frantic (Billy Idol), Jump (Van Halen)
The career of Maxence Cyrin is hardly banal, between electronic and classical, piano and synthesizer, home-studio and orchestra. Trained in piano and classical music, the young Cyrin turned to the shadowy atmos- pheres of New Wave and industrial music before becoming one of the pioneers of the French electro scene. Around 1995, having tired of techno, he turned to crooning and easy listening standards and went back to his classical roots before making two albums of covers (Modern Rhapsodies and Novö Piano) in the past ten years, and two albums of original compositions (The Fantasist, Nocturnes), not to overlook the compositions and arrangements for Nicolas Comment's recent album, Rose Planète.
June 1 Washington, DC Jammin Java
June 2 Wilmington, DE World Café
June 3 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
June 7 Montreal, CAN Theatre Fairmont / Lucas
June 8 Toronto, ONT Adelaide Hall
June 10 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk
June 11 Minneapolis, MN Cedars
June 13 Seattle, WA Triple Door
June 15 Portland, OR Doug Fir
June 17 San Francisco, CA Bimbo's
June 18 Los Angeles, CA El Rey
For more information, visit www.maxencecyrin.net.