Flica: Nocturnal

Nocturnal could just as easily have been titled Nocturne, given the word's definition as “a pensive, lyrical piece of music (especially for the piano).”  There's certainly no shortage of dreamy serenades on Flica's Schole debut (and follow-up to the Mü-nest release Windvane and Window). Though piano is the central instrument in the new album's ten pieces, the instrument is joined by acoustic guitar, strings, programmed beats, and ambient atmospheres in Euseng Seto's electroacoustic settings. Throughout, the music is warm, the style consonant, and the vibe pastoral; the Malaysian artist's music, in other words, is anything but nightmare-inducing, and Nocturnal amounts to forty-six soothing minutes. “All” sets the tone with the gentle lilt of acoustic guitar, strings, electronic beats, and piano, and “Well” situates the listener within a peaceful outdoor landscape; the other pieces offer multiple servings of burbling electronic beats and entrancing piano cascades. Though some pieces are beatless (e.g., the atmospheric interlude “Say”), Seto keeps the material animated by including punchy rhythms on many tracks (the closer “Yi” perhaps the most robust example) and consequently the album doesn't become so soothing it spills over into sleepiness. It goes without saying that Flica's Nocturnal will also appeal to devotees of Sawako, Daisuke Miyatani, Akira Kosemura (all three Schole artists too), and Rist (whose Weekend was issued recently on Mü-nest).

February 2009