The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Roumain: etudes4violin&electronix. Featuring DJ Spooky, Peter Gordon, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Philip Glass etc
Monday, 01 October 2007
Daniel Bernard Roumain (violin)
Thirsty Ear Records THI 57179 2 (www.thirstyear.com)
Daniel Bernard Roumain is not new to cross-genre meetings of minds, but this series of collaborations with various luminaries from across the contemporary music spectrum, including DJ Spooky and Philip Glass, is his debut solo album. Framed as etudes, these pieces are more studies of musical genre than of instrumental technique, providing snapshots of ambient-, funk- and hip-hop-influenced DJ craft as well as Minimalist and Impressionistic dialogues between violin and piano.
Roumain’s folkish turns of phrase provide a common thread, predominantly lyrical rather than strident but kept fresh by a tone spectrum that runs from warmth to wafer-thin frailty. Some difficulties are encountered as he jumps between worlds. Roumain’s gusto feels trapped by the circular melodic web he has woven for himself in Resonance, and the lift-off brought by his rousing use of an effects pedal in Fayeteville is delayed by long acoustic phrases that sit awkwardly with the DJ funk-rock setting. Listeners expecting progressive electronic music may also be dismayed – the Glass collaboration is not the only piece in which, save for a rather ambient recording set-up, the Watt count is minimal.
Nevertheless, this debut solo album has enough in it to suggest that in future, perhaps more homogeneous, projects Roumain’s creative powers will make a real impact.
From the October 2007 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.