Published Oct 02, 2018There's always been a cinematic quality to Alexandra Stréliski's music, honed from years working in advertising as a composer. In the eight years since quietly self-releasing debut album Pianoscope, slowly the world started taking notice, until director Jean-Marc Vallée placed songs from the record in his works, including Dallas Buyers Club, Demolition and the trailer of Big Little Lies. Now, Stréliski has left advertising to pursue music full-time, and Inscape marks the launch pad with which she'll do so.
Where Pianoscope looked outward with its rich, sprightly piano tracks, Inscape turns its gaze inward, swapping the sprightliness for a touches of melancholy and yearning. The album title is a portmanteau of "interior" and "landscape," but its similarity to "escape" shouldn't go unnoticed — each track carries a delicate wistfulness, a hopeful glance out a rainy window toward a brighter future.
That Stréliski is so capable of evoking such emotional complexity out of a single instrument heralds much to come as she continues to approach the height of her compositional powers — faint traces of synthesizer on "Interlude" only serve to heighten expectations.
Standing tall among recent solo piano records by fellow Canadian composers Chilly Gonzales and Jean-Michel Blais, Inscape is a powerful look toward a new neoclassical landscape. (Secret City)