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Colin Vallon: Danse (ECM)

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Colin Vallon: "Danse"
Colin Vallon: “Danse”

There is no dance music on Swiss pianist Colin Vallon’s Danse. At no point while listening would anyone really think, “This is danceable.” Perhaps he should have called it “Meditate.” The album, which features Patrice Moret on bass and Julian Sartorius on drums, contains pristine minimalist storytelling—sounds best suited for a moody afternoon or late-night reflection. Touching on everything from free jazz to pop music, Danse is not about movement; it’s about staying put and letting go.

The trio’s most exciting music is also its weirdest. “Tinguely” begins in an avant-garde place, then becomes something a bit straighter 90 seconds in but never loses its edge. After three minutes, the leader homes in on the lower register of the piano and the music intensifies, eventually halting with an unexpected cue. The title track starts with scattershot confusion and closes with a tense but pretty groove. Composed by all three members, “Oort” comprises a waterfall of unnerving piano, foreboding bowed bass and a slow, chime-y beat. And “L’Onde” boasts a number of moods: nervous, hyperactive, subtle, trusting.

This group is versatile, also making music that could surely be on the radio. “Sisyphe” is nostalgic and catchy, and the wistful “Reste” is perfect for that closing scene in a movie when the two leads look back on the good times but agree it’s best to part ways.

Originally Published