Dustin O’Halloran is an American, Berlin based, composer who I was first introduced to by Finbar from Scrawls and Bawls. I had done a piece on ambient musicians that I loved and he suggested a couple I had missed that I should investigate further. So that’s exactly what I did with a previous record of his entitled ‘Piano Solos’. I fell in love with the beautiful compositions that I heard and did a little further investigation. So I was VERY excited to read on his website that a new record was due for release in early 2011 on Fat Cat, and even more excited to read that the man producing the record would be Jóhann Jóhannsson whose 2010 record ‘And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees’ was by far and away my favourite record of last year. And that’s not the only exciting artist to appear on this record with Peter Broderick also appearing on strings and Nils Frahm adding some engineering skills to the mix. So even before I’d turned the record on, my expectations had been raised significantly. Silly, but true.
And this record doesn’t disappoint. It’s not overly long for a classical record. It’s succinct and everything it does it does so well. O’Halloran, for his part, had me hooked before this record as a wonderful pianist, capable of tugging at the heart strings, generating goosebumps and generally sending the listener into a state of catatonic bliss. On this record he clearly projects his skills as a composer and arranger whilst retaining that wonderful sense of melody which can be created by the piano alone. It’s the dense warmth of the strings coupled with the sparse, beautiful piano lines that really sink deep into your soul with this record. There is more than a slight wiff of Johannsson’s handy work on this record. This is no criticism. Jóhannsson’s involvement in this piece is a masterstroke and O’Halloran has, without doubt, benefitted from working with the man. How couldn’t you?!
Anyways, I suggest you wait for dusk. Open your window. Let spring soak into your room. Grab yourself a glass of wine. Sit back. Close your eyes. And just let this music take over.
Dustin O’Halloran, with this record, has promoted himself to the elite of modern classical composers. You really should check out this record if you can. You can do so below. Enjoy.