Published Nov 21, 2019There are two kinds of classical music lovers. For the traditionalists, new music is primarily about (gently) reinterpreting the masters. New composers are treated with due respect, so long as they know their place. Modernists, on the other hand, have studied the classics, but as history lessons. They recognize that a contemporary age deserves contemporary music. Often that means incorporating non-traditional playing techniques and sounds — what the purists call decadent.
Berlin's Anne Müller is the sort of modernist who, given the right exposure, could win over open-minded purists. The cellist and composer has contributed to more than 60 recordings since 2007, including albums by Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Lubomyr Melnyk. Her debut as a solo artist is a confidently bold and richly detailed effort. The work is luxurious, without a hint of melodrama.
Heliopause is named for a place beyond the reach of the sun's wind. A pair of space missions reached far enough into space 42 years ago that they could no longer tap into the sun for power. Müller sees herself — at just about the same age — stepping out of the warm familiarity of collaboration with this new project. This is a completely solitary effort. She composed, recorded, arranged and produced each of the six works.
The album's most avant-garde piece is the opener, "Being Anne." It features her playing a broken piano's strings with a plectrum (classical music-speak for guitar pick) and scratching out sounds on its key mechanism. On top of that rhythm Müller adds looped cello drones and drums.
We hope that Müller's decision to put her own name on this one hints at what we can expect from her in the future. (Erased Tapes)