The Montreal-based composer and pianist Charly Martin — aka Wings for Louise — produces music that plays with the intimate and the epic, the acoustic sweetness and the electric haze. His musical universe revolves around the keyboard, whether acoustic or through analog and modular synths, and it is through this shade of mediums that the composer releases Transcanadien, his debut album, with Circa Recordings.
The first well-crafted side of Transcanadien navigates towards the epic and the impressions of the vastness of Northern America. Whether it is in “Going Home”, an indie rock tinted, almost 1980s synths-and-beats driven piece, “Living Mounts” that brings cinematic nostalgia, or the title-piece, “TransCanadien”, that evolves through atmospheres and slowly develops over time to reach a grand drum-driven finale. The great plains of Canada… At the end of the album, “We Will Be Us Now” returns to the epic of the introduction and the big mountainous epic vocabulary.
There is then a contrasting wish for intimacy and nostalgia through a second side of Transcanadien. “III” and “My Bed Is No Longer on the Floor” focus on delicate piano pieces. But with this apparent need for intimacy, there is always a wish for interesting production treatments. “Arpèges” features noises and variations of texture and space, while “Interlude” goes through a treated piano and synthesised sheets of sound, slowly returning to some of the epic atmospheres with the reintroduction of drums and more synthesisers.
Transcanadien is an opportunity for Martin to balance organic and electronic sounds. Although his music is very much centred on electronic instruments, he successfully manages to balance a human element, as well as natural through the use of field recordings. The French composer says that the piano is a very capricious instrument that at times wants to be surrounded by dozens of layers and instruments and sometimes at times wants to be alone and that is very well illustrated through this initial release.