Label: Fat Cat Release date: 19/07/10 Link: Website Buy: Amazon 'Post Classical.' This is by no means the only way or the definitive way to describe Max Richter's music, but it is the best I have heard, and somehow it seems to fit; the unadulterated brilliance of Max Richter's music has no rules or discernible plan, it's an organic being that will move and wander to its heart's content. The latest offering from the neo classic, post classic, minimalist, unclassifiable composer is one that was originally composed as a shorter piece for the Royal-Ballet, but don't let that put you off. Though the music was perfect for the performance, it was not exclusive to the performance and is easily appreciated by itself as a piece that takes the sounds of classical music and some of its finest instruments and composing tricks and subdues it and marries it so beautifully with a music concrete vision of modern music and composition. It is Richter's incredible ability to make the avant-garde and music concrete nature of music subtle and unassuming, a paradox in itself. Listening to the five Journey entitled pieces here, there is no sense of pretension or even any attention drawn to the sample based sound; the pieces are allowed to drift and lay where they like, which gives the pieces rhythm and soul in what should, by rights, sound like an entropic tangle. It's this ability to transform the inorganic into the purest organic sounds that makes this music akin to musical alchemy. Through these pieces we can ascertain an understanding of the sounds themselves and how beautifully sounds can fit together, even when they are not necessarily made for beauty. It's easy to see why Richter described these as "Like a Travellers Notebook". These pieces are discoveries, they're personal and beautiful and full of wonder. The other tracks on here, the original Infra pieces, also run in as personal movements, even if they are more traditionally arranged. The rise and fall of each track is evocative and beautiful, rising into unassuming crescendos, never demanding patience and never leaving wanting. Infra 5 stands out as the best here, the movement to raise the orchestration through level after level of more excited playing and with a rhythm that breathes, it raises higher and higher until it breaking through a radio sample, with white noise and feedback before halting to bring through the softest sounds into Infra 6, that wells and laments the loss of the previous excitement. It is pure genius, a landmark in the mastering of sound to change emotion. The whole album ties together as a journey as well; each piece meanders or sprints or drives on into the next and creates a passage behind itself to create a view of travelling, not having to go anywhere, but travelling because you can travel. It's through the understanding saying everything in nothing at all that we understand why he has previously included quotes from Haruki Murakami, an author that can tell a story that goes nowhere and has no importance but make it sound as if it is the holiest of all pilgrimages. To quote Richter on the matter, in an interview with Boomkat in 2006, "... it is about trying to get to the idea of the extraordinariness of ordinary things - something Murakami is really in touch with", which shows all the way through this album. Nothing here is hooked or designed to raise attention to itself over any other piece, it is the journey of listening to the album that is its ultimate beauty. I have listened to minimalism and composition before and it has never gripped me as anything other than as a soundtrack, but this album is something special, something unlike Glass's conscious simplicity or Nyman's lack of discernible talent. This is a masterpiece that can be appreciated by all audiences, truly a piece of perfection if there was any. Photobucket