Maxence Cyrin

The test, perhaps, of a club track's ultimate musical worth is to take it off the dancefloor and try performing it in other arrangements. In the case of Frenchman and electronica aficionado Maxence Cyrin's Modern Rhapsodies album we get electronic dance tracks reinterpreted on piano. It's a wild idea, brilliantly executed.

artist:
Maxence Cyrin

country of origin:
France

style(s):
Solo piano, techno/house/electro/trip hop

decades active:
2000's

essential releases:

  • Modern Rhapsodies (2005, F Communications)

Reviewed by Mike G

The test, perhaps, of a club track's ultimate musical worth is to take it off the dancefloor and try performing it in other arrangements. In the case of Frenchman and electronica aficionado Maxence Cyrin's album Modern Rhapsodies (2005) we get electronic dance tracks reinterpreted on piano. It's a wild idea, brilliantly executed.

Cyrin's musical instincts are razor sharp, honed during his time as a player and/or composer of forms as diverse as techno, classical music and easy listening jazz-pop. He hasn't attempted coverage of all the major electronic and dance music styles; rather he plays solo piano interpretations of some of the tunes that have most moved and inspired him.

There's no sheet music to read; Cyrin plays it all from memory. The natural pace of an original club track occasionally surfaces, like on "Disco's Revenge" and "Jaguar" which quickly hit a furious stride. More often, however, the mood is reflective. Cyrin's approach is to extract the melodic centre from tunes such as Depache Mode's "Behind The Wheel" and Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy" and turn them into an intimate, melancholy kind of chamber music. For the more academically inclined its interesting to see how Cyrin's cover versions lay bare the profound influence of classical minimalism on house, techno and electro music. The repetitive patterns of Felix's house anthem "Don't You Want Me", for instance, sounds like something you might hear from Philip Glass at the piano.

This album is a rare and wonderful thing. If dance music has ever meant anything to you - regardless of genre - Modern Rhapsodies is an unmissable one-off gem.

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