Review: Charles Barabé – De la fragilité (Astral Spirits, Jul 27)

When Charles Barabé reached out to Austin, TX label Astral Spirits about releasing something for them, he described the recordings that would become De la fragilité as “something like a new turn in my work… and it’s quite different from what I release in the past…” Unsurprisingly, Barabé is quite correct in his assessment of his own art, and De la fragilité is quite a departure from the MIDI electronics of Les dernières confessions and even the lively collage work found on both Cicatrices releases. Instead, it seems to be more informed by contemporary classical, both by the abstract sonorities of serialism and the synthetic contortions of early musique concrète, but as always the overall style is unique to Barabé. The six movements make use of a wide range of sounds, with Mouvement III delving into manipulated choral passages and Mouvement V mixing low rumbles with sparse string plucks, but everything is unified by the consistent piano chords that provide both tension and resolution throughout the album. As someone who wasn’t a huge fan of either of the aforementioned previous Barabé releases, De la fragilité is the first instance of me truly connecting with his music, and I am excited to see where he goes next.