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Steppe

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Album Review

Steppe, Aubry's third album, continues the sounds, harmonic and rhythmic patterns, and general instrumentation that he has used throughout the 1990s. Steppe was composed for a ballet, and all of the pieces have a rhythmic drive that would suit dance very well. The harmonic movement is akin to the work of Philip Glass (with whom Aubry shared the stage in the mid 1990s). The voicing is imaginative, as on "Staccato" where he effectively pairs steel- and nylon-string guitars for coloristic effects. Unlike some of his later albums, Aubry keeps the instrumentation more varied in this collection. "Eclaircie," for example, is mostly solo fingerstyle guitar over recordings of rain and other nature sounds, while "Sagittaire" features solo violin and a more electronic beat. "White Horse" and "The Dark Wind" are both songs, sung by Aubry in a mild French accent, but with very imaginative overdubbing and echoes; other pieces contain whispered vocals that are very evocative.

Steppe, René Aubry
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