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Max Richter reissues - Songs From Before

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Max Richter is a German-born, British composer releasing some six albums. But to understand his standing now, you have to go back to a band he fronted, called Piano Circus, that commissioned works from Arvo Part, Brian Eno and Philip Glass – and his grasp of  "less is more". Now after two successful releases in New Zealand (the unmissable Recomposed-Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Sleep), Universal Music have re-issued his 2006 disc Songs From Before. Once again it's a sparse work; its nearest counterpart seems to be the minimalists' from Iceland: Johann Johannsson, Olarfur Arnalds and Sigor Ros, or The Bridge television soundtrack.

The recently retired Robert Wyatt (ex-Soft Machine and Pink Floyd/Bjork collaborator) gives us five readings of Lit-god Haruki Murakami, with only two violins, two cellos and a viola, plus Richter's keyboard electronics mirroring the sound of glass harmonica and xylophone, which remarkably sounds like a full symphonic orchestra. We now have another wonderful album to add to his small body of work.  SEE THE Stuff.co.nz - The Dominion Post PAGE