Max Richter - Memoryhouse

Re-issued after several years of unavailability, Max Richter's 2002 solo debut placed him firmly at the heart of the minimalist, yet accessible neo-classical scene, although it was not until his soundtrack for Waltz With Bashir that you could say his star was truly in the ascendant.

Memoryhouse is a collection of relatively short mood pieces that Richter describes as 'documentary music'. Opener 'Europe After The Rain' weaves its way throughout the album, its refrain ghosting itself into the listener's consciousness, each piece conjouring up little movies in the mind. These are the soundtracks that play when your French girlfriend leaves you alone on the park bench. This is what runs through your head as you turn the key in the door of the now empty family home for the very last time. This is what keeps you company as you stand at the graveside. In the rain.

The jittery pulses of 'Untitled (Figures)' are a reminder of Richter's time with Future Sound of London but otherwise this sticks to the piano and strings format, with occasional intervention from harpsichord and the human voice. It's powerful and emotive stuff, with Richter playing out the darker histories of 20th century Europe over the hour or so's running time.

At 18 tracks, Memoryhouse may be too much for anyone to take in one sitting. There are, after all, only so many tears one man can shed.

Overall

7

out of 10

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