The Blue Notebooks
On his second solo effort and first on the esteemed label Fat Cat, former Piano Circus member Max Richter distills Franz Kafka, chamber music, Tilda Swinton, Czeslaw Milosz and subtle electronics to great effect. More than just audio wallpaper chill-out, The Blue Notebooks is alluring and ethereal, containing spoken word without Ken Nordine, Richard Harris or pretense. The result is a beautiful, stirring and rather episodic work of quasi-classical compositions. With the sound of Swinton reading text by the aforementioned authors, accompanied by a manual typewriter linking together the grand movements, Richter succeeds as a visceral and textural composer. It’s ambient and atmospheric, and recommended for fans of Rachel’s, Set Fire to Flames and John Cage. In fact, it’s recommended to anyone with ears.