Distortion and other techniques used to transform electronics have become such a mainstay of new music that we’re surprised by their absence. To hear a synthesizer played cleanly has come to sound fresh and even a bit startling.
A beautiful new recording from Germany’s Sven Laux makes clear there are other ways to build texture into electronic music. Laux adds violin, cello, piano and gentle noise elements that turn what would otherwise be a rather dated-sounding album into a genuinely magnificent collection of eight new works.
Laux is recognized as an electronic musician primarily. It’s a space he’s occupied since he began writing in 1998.
Increasingly though, his work has matured to the point where it’s fair to describe Paper Streets as a new classical work. His compositions are equal parts romantic and modern. The cello on the album’s title piece. The piano on “From Sadness To You.” In Laux’s hands these traditional tools feel modern and full of promise. He is composing a gateway to the classics for electronic music lovers around the world.
Still, there’s plenty here for fans of his earlier work. “I Wish I Could Sleep” closes out the album on a strong, imaginative note. Warm strings reach deep down, under fluttering electronics. It’s just one more highlight on an elegant, moving album.