(Highly) Recommended: Max Richter – Infra

By Sam.

There is not and will never be an answer on the other end of that radio.

There are some things when it comes to music that I am woefully ignorant of and classical music always makes me very aware of these things. Or “post-classical” as Richter defines himself.

The first time I actually heard the first track of Max Richter’s Infra, simply titled “Infra 1,” I was overwhelmed by feeling. It’s actually fairly rare that I sit and take in an album purely; most times I skip around, pause, do other stuff that distracts me (like writing a blog post). For Infra, it was all I could do but sit at work and move as slowly as possible.

Originally written as a part of a ballet called “The Wasteland,” it’s no surprise that the album’s thirteen tracks are pretty bleak fare. The most obvious motif is a running radio static that comes in and out at different points in the album, emphasizing the loneliness present in the music.

There is not and will never be an answer on the other end of that radio.

Because of my limited musical knowledge, the most obvious comparison for me to draw is to that of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s first album, though this is obviously more orchestral. The bleakness of the music is similar, but Infra has much a cinematic–and a notably loneliner–feel. Infra has a total lack of human presence. It’s the kind of album that’s perfect for late, late nights or very early mornings. I can only recommend listening to it as alone as you can be, headphones on and loud.

I can’t say Infra will be for everyone. It’d fit at home on a movie soundtrack (The Road being an obvious candidate) and may bore the more informed. But I’m going to rip a quote from the Pop Matters review of this album that pretty perfectly sums up why this one’s worth grabbing:

“By adding just the right amount of static to the sugar of his sweeping arrangements, Richter’s created an album that’s precisely balanced between accessibility and depth, desolation and joy, melody and noise.”

I’m a little bewildered as to what I should post as preview tracks. The album is after all essentially a single piece of music, its own little movement. I can say that the album is full of beautiful, sweeping strings( “Infra 5,) and some very basic, but very, very effective piano (“”Journey 1,” Journey 5″).

Here are the first two tracks. Just a teaser.

Max Richter | “Infra 1” and “Journey 1”

mp3s: {Infra 1 | Journey 1} (Rightclick>saveas..)

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