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London, 2018 

Lucy Claire is a British composer who writes music that takes inspiration from both contemporary classical and musique concrète aesthetics. She is known for her collaborations with various artists, from musicians Alev Lenz and Yuri Kono to sculptor Marie-Louise Jones. During the past year, Claire has released three EPs—Piano Works, Scape Works and String Works—with Swedish label 1631 Recordings and Decca Publishing. Treated both individually and collectively, each project displays the composer’s talent at writing pieces that merge melancholic and bittersweet instrumental parts, with atmospheric and adventurous soundscapes—through recordings collected during various European journeys.


Piano Works presents a combination of compositions that range from slightly disturbing, unbalanced, sombre yet delicate Satie-an piano pieces—Nettle, Sage (featuring cellist Ren Ford) and Dear Shadows—to musical collages—Willow—and more abstract soundscapes—Thumb, Pause and Outro. The most audacious of the three Eps, Scape Works, reminded me of Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines and other of his collages. The musical fragments are layered, juxtaposed and combined in a non-traditional and innovative way—with the help of music engineer Josh Green who has contributed to the EP with a Jecklin Disk—allowing Claire to create an acoustic shadow of each microphone, and therefore providing the listener with an unusual—yet very natural—way of hearing her music. Underground stands out; performed in Canary Wharf station, it is a piece that consciously involves the surrounding noises, creating a conversation between the piano and the sound of the city. Finally, String Works sends us in the sonic world of Max Richter and contemporary minimalism—It Is Winter Here—and recalls the intense and dark universe of the first EP—Mourners Matinée and Silhouettes. After such an intense voyage, If the Moon Could Frown (featuring the Iskra String Quartet) is a slightly brighter piece that plays with dark musical humour.


There is no need for more words to describe Lucy Claire’s EPs. Her musical triptych—both fascinating and delightful—is a real treat to the ears. Is there any better way to end a year of musical reviews?

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