Michael Price: Entanglement
Erased Tapes

Entanglement provides about as strong an argument for Michael Price as a soundtrack composer as could be imagined. Based on the evidence at hand, Price would seem to be a natural choice as the composer for some prestigious, yet-to-be-determined literary adaptation on the order of Pride and Prejudice or Madame Bovary. In that regard, one could easily imagine his name appearing on a short-list that would include names such as Dario Marianelli, Michael Nyman, and Alexandre Desplat.

Written and recorded over a two-year period, the music on Price's debut album, which augments his own piano playing with a rich complement of sounds that includes cello, soprano voice, string orchestra, modular synth, tape effects, and electronics, is elegant and emotive in the extreme. Contrast plays a significant part on the album, specifically in the way certain tracks embrace an unreserved emotionalism in their acoustic presentation, whereas others are a tad more experimental in their exploration of tape-related effects and electronics.

The recording's different sides are introduced successively via “Tape Overture,” whose raw chamber music transmissions transport us to an earlier time when recording technology was in its infancy, and “Easter,” a lustrous piano setting of tranquil and impressionistic character. Partially recorded onto a 1940s magnetic disc recorder, “The Attachment” similarly takes the listener back to a pre-digital era, even if its combination of strings and piano invites comparison to Nyman's music at its most emotionally exposed. Reinforcing the soundtrack connection, the closing title track exudes a rousing spirit that makes it feel like the perfect music to accompany a film's credits sequence.

Price's appetite for experimentalism surfaces in “Budapest,” where surging classical strings intersect with wobbly ambient sounds captured and processed on a mobile phone, and in “Digital Birds,” where electronics are cleverly used to evoke the creatures' cries. The presence of strings and soprano vocalizing, on the other hand, lends the pieces on which they appear an intense classical character. On “Maitri,” for example, Ashley Knight's multi-tracked voice soars high over a dense mass of strings, while “The Uncertainty Principle” sees her emoting alongside Peter Gregson's cello and Price's piano.

One of Price's goals for Entanglement was to create something that would have, in his own words, “timeless emotive power, ... that would make a deeper connection in superficially networked times.” Price's music is so genuine and emotionally direct, it can't help but make a powerful impression, and one comes away from the recording impressed by its sincerity and beauty.

March 2015