Hypnagogue Music Reviews

Imi Fal, The Lightest Touch

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If your soul is not stirring, even slightly, by the middle of the opening track of Imi Fal’s The Lightest Touch and then continues to do at various intervals throughout the release, there is a very good chance you don’t have one. This graceful, thought-provoking blend of ambient chamber music and lightly applied field recordings engages the listener at a visceral level from the start and doesn’t let go. It feels close and intimate and constructed of small, fragile and perfectly crafted parts. Ingemar Holmlid’s work is packed with detail. It’s never intrusive, but piques your attention here and there as you’re being carried softly along, lost in your thoughts. Even the heavy chords that jump up in “Sonder” feel integral; sharp and sudden, but vital to what the piece is trying to say. The focal point throughout the release is Holmild’s piano playing, which is, simply put, elegant. I listen to the waltz of “Under a Darkening Sky” and I feel like I am peering into some crystalline thing, each music-box note charming and small. This track is an excellent example of the detail work. I hear the sounds of wind, of something mechanical winding, a light tapping, and none of it disturbs the 1-2-3 beauty of the core song. “Fingertips” pairs the piano with muffled sounds of conversation and electronic burbles. It feels like Holmild has found a separate room at a gathering and sat down at the piano to play quietly, to work out his thoughts unattended by the people engaged in their chatter. The Lightest Touch eases past in just 41 minutes, and every minute is spent firmly in its tender grasp. The level of emotion packed into this short space is impressive, and the composer conveys it without ever feeling heavy handed. In fact, it feels almost confessional on his part. So please listen closely as Imi Fal bares his musical soul to you, and listen to how your responds in kind.

Available from Imi Fal’s Bandcamp site.

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