The French composer and singer Ezéchiel Pailhès made his debut in 2001 with the electro-pop duo Nôze and has released four subsequent albums. The academically-trained pianist, brought up on classical music and jazz, has long been meaning to write a solo piano album. Then, in 2022 – just as he was getting ready to start producing an album of new songs – this long-standing aim finally materialized as the melodies he wrote seemed to stand naturally on their own. The result is a new instrumental album, Ventas Rumba, that blends piano with warm synth tones. On this project, Pailhès aimed begin a new narrative, to explore new instrumental terrain and new tones far removed from the familiar piano he has been playing all his life. He opted for the Una Corda piano, designed by David Klavins, a groundbreaking instrument-builder renowned for his distinctive pianos with vertical shapes and frames, and travelled to Klavins’ home base of Kuldiga, Latvia to get started on the album. Later in France, Ezéchiel enhanced the first tracks recorded in Kuldiga with subtle synth tone layers, putting together deliberate and sensitive orchestrations with piano, synth keyboards and digital effects. According to Pailhès, the idea was “to erase the differences between the tones of the various instruments.”

Pailhès says Ventas Rumba is similar to “a collection of short stories,” as compositions rarely exceed three minutes and evoke figures of movement, lightness, curves or modulation, such as “La ligne,” “La valse des singes,” or “Fly Finger.” Others more seriously relate to a kind of spirituality, which quietly infuses such different tracks as “Ferveur,” “Éclair,” and “Louanges.” Other tracks are directly inspired by the classical music he listens to on a daily basis. For example, Chopin’s “8th Nocturne” formed the backdrop of “Pianovado.” Likewise, the harmonic structure of Beethoven’s “Waldstein Sonata No. 21” inspired “Opus 53.” These multiple references and inspirations quickly recede behind a style that is uniquely his, as Pailhès fosters an imaginary world that evokes the shapes and themes of ballads, ritornellos, light-heartedness, passing time, reverie, or a universal subdued melancholy. 

“As soon as you hear the music, your ear catches the groove and your body can’t help but dance.” – A Closer Listen

“This album marks a seamless reinvention for Pailhès, blending ballads and ritornellos with a mix of light-heartedness and melancholy.” – It’s Psychedelic Baby

Recommended Tracks: Track 2, “Piccolo,” Track 8, “Opus 53,” Track 3, “Sway,” Track 5, “Ventas Rumba”

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Label: Circus Company

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