One of the most exciting things about instrumental music, I think, is the subjective interpretation of its substance. A wordless piece of music forces the beholder to be the narrator, and how they choose to understand it will no doubt depend on their moods, interests, and experience. prixvyou, the latest album by Lucas Brode of Hannibal Montana, left me revisiting many of these thoughts again.
Paraphrasing from his website, Brode uses music as an attempt to find an equilibrium between the mind, the body, and the spirit; between thought and performance; between Nature and art. Brode’s strategy to pursue this manifests in the form of rich acoustic instrumentals incorporating a range of influences, including West African rhythm, jazz harmony and classical minimalism. The tracks of prixvyou carry over many of the elements employed by Hannibal Montana: delicate guitar phrasings (‘Interpretive Trance’), bold chord progressions (‘Colourisations’) and droned electronic interludes (‘Advent’). The magnum opus of prixvyou, in my opinion, is ‘Circadian Shapes’, a piece conveyed in three parts. Here, Brode frolics impetuously across the fretboard with impressive tapped out melodies, delivered with such rigour and grace that the three interweaving sections overall retain a cool flow. Brode is sharp with his execution; he softens his finger taps and slows the tempo to reify the drifting mood of the piece. Almost at odds with its frenetic musical structure, ‘Circadian Shapes’ slowly builds a sonic landscape that is both hypnotic and compelling. It’s hard to say what the ‘circadian’ element is in these three compositions, but Brode’s rapid finger-work brings to mind themes of time, growth and decay. I almost inevitably found myself imagining sped up time-lapses of unfolding concurrently with the song. Icebergs melting. Buildings constructed. Life moving.
Of course, this is me exerting my prerogative to explain what I hear. In prixvyou there is plenty left up to the listener to find a personal meaning for: its compositions, its cover art, even the album name itself. There is a lot of wonder associated with this release, and by golly it is captivating.