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Emmett Elvin - Assault On The Tyranny Of Reason album review

Guapo and Knifeworld keyboard king Emmett Elvin’s masterpiece in miniature

In addition to providing bespoke keyboards for heavyweights like Guapo and Knifeworld, Emmett Elvin continues a rather fine solo career with this follow-up to his 2014 debut, Bloody Marvels. As a writer and arranger, Elvin takes a miniaturist approach that packs taut compositions with enticing textures and pointed detail with string, brass and woodwind players borrowed from his other musical outlets. As a result, the combined set of mostly four-minute instrumental pieces, and the occasional song, add up to an album devoid of any padding or waffle.

The blunt trauma of The Democracy They Deserve alternates between savagely dark, cutting chords and an ascending tip-toe melody before finally bleeding out into an eerie, fairy-tale vista. Earlier, AllWeAreIsLove evoked the sunlit uplands of Steve Reich’s burbling minimalism. While celebrating this brevity, some sections do feel curtailed. Mars Is So Yesterday stops on the verge of revealing yet more beguiling themes. The Plankton Suite similarly stands on the threshold of greater things but ultimately goes no further. Nevertheless, Elvin’s fluent command of dynamics and drama ensure an enthralling album.