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Minais B - Quiet Bloom Music Album Reviews

Created in a period of grieving, Danish electronic composer Villads Klint’s second album mimics the messiness of feelings in flux, pairing everyday sounds with hints of trance and Baroque.

The structure of Quiet Bloom has more in common with a ballet or an opera than with pop music. On his second album as Minais B, Copenhagen composer Villads Klint values the unpredictability of emotion over neat stylistic resolution. Within a single track there might be several transitions, each one bouncing off the other in a frenetic call-and-response. There are clear leads—organ music, a pixelated take on trance, a devotional choir—but the storytelling is a law unto itself.
The music of Minais B’s 2017 debut album, Deep Care, skewed closer to “distroid,” a name that musicologist Adam Harper gave to a strain of post-internet music he described as “brutal and cybernetic.” Quiet Bloom is a very different kettle of fish. Following the death of a loved one, Klint created the album away from the city, on the coast of a Danish island. “It was my first time being totally alone for two weeks, and in the cold winter of Scandinavia,” he writes in the album notes. “It was a period of extreme moods for me, but the music came out.”
What that sounds like is sometimes a digital growl, a sharp inhalation, and a cloying harpsichord that’s gradually phased to the point of haziness (“Ceremony”). Two interludes, “Intermezzo 1” and “Intermezzo 2,” ground the album in a semblance of everyday life. The first features room hiss and mechanical rumbling and clicking, while the latter includes what could be the slam of a car door and the sweep of a brush on concrete. Against this pedestrian backdrop—the sound of life seemingly carrying on as normal—the album’s more mercurial moments take on greater meaning. On “Little Sun,” for example, a plucked synthetic string and resonant organ eke out some breathing space in a skeletal Baroque form before being momentarily drowned out by a demented trance arpeggio.

Trance music has become a popular source material for electronic artists concerned with reexamining and recontextualizing the dance-music languages of the late 20th century. For many of today’s young European producers, it’s the music of their childhood or the scene they just missed out on. While Lorenzo Senni’s approach to trance forfeits release, in thrall to endless ascent, Minais B zooms in so close that he cracks the lens. What’s refracted on “Where We Meet” is a crosshatch interpretation of a build complete with choral underpinnings, its surface ecstasy revealed to be a mishmash of desire and alienation. The reflex of Quiet Bloom is to simultaneously reach toward and away from itself; the kind of dance that dealing with loss demands.

Where the album really shines is when its ambiguous motion is given the space to run wild. The two longest tracks, ”Weaver” and “Magnolia,” unfold in a balletic display of potent gestures and dramatic twists and turns. Organs provide familiar sentimentality on both tracks, yet are spliced in such a way that they emancipate rather than overpower. Quiet Bloom does not deliver a tidy narrative about the processing of grief. What makes it such a riveting listen is that it allows each fluctuating feeling some time in the sun.
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