Dustin O’Halloran Dustin O’HalloranLumiere
Even as a member of Dévics, Dustin O’Halloran was already dedicating part of his time to composing pieces for piano solos that didn’t fit in nor were they adaptable to the song-based mentality he shares with Sarah Lov. Those primitive works had the usual Satie-esque background that can be found on most of the piano records aimed at the indie audience, from Sylvain Chauveau to Nils Frahm, but what they didn’t announce was the dawn of a complete composer, capable of surrounding his melancholic keystrokes with orchestrations as delicate as early morning fog. Dustin O’Halloran could be heard on “An American Affair”, his soundtrack score for the William Sten Olsson-directed film, and also on his contributions to Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette”. But what was really missing in his repertoire was a proper album with, apart from pianos, strings, harmonies and the feeling that the music comes clothed with elegant sonic robes, not completely naked. That record is “Lumiere”, and it’s an album on which O’Halloran finally comes out as a great neo-impressionist and as a future composer of soundtracks for big films. Michael Winterbottom should be on the phone already.
Among the nine delicate moments of “Lumiere” –on which the titles are numbered chronologically, like on his previous records: “Opus 44”, “Opus 43” and “Opus 55”; “Quartet N.2” and “Quintet N.1”– there are echoes of two old friends: Michael Nyman and Max Richter. Especially the first: what Dustin O’Halloran takes from Richter is the way of stealthily integrating the electronic textures between violins and piano, as if they were a fine layer of rain in the distance or gauze before the eyes. They also share the simplicity with which the composite puzzles are solved: natural phrasing, arrangements without stridencies, always searching for the direct emotional effect –although without tricks– and the descriptive utility. But there are many parts on “Lumiere”, for example “Fragile N.4” and “We Move Lightly”, on which the Michael Nyman who wrote the scores for “Wonderland” and “The Claim” comes peeking around the corner, the Nyman who transmitted a true pain, without feigning, and who was capable of stopping time on decisive moments during which it even seemed like respiration could halt. That sense of eternity, eternal sadness condensed into a single second, is the spark that breaks the heart without warning, and it’s what springs from “Lumiere” when at times, for the fans of neo-classical, it isn’t absolutely necessary, though what comes after is.