Celebrated composer Michael Nyman teams up with acclaimed soul singer David McAlmont to create a fusion of classical music, pop and soul, which is innovative and intriguing if not always successful.
You may not know the name Michael Nyman, but you certainly know his music. Having composed scores for films like 'The Piano' and the recent Oscar winning documentary 'Man On Wire', as well as countless operas, concerti and chamber music, Nyman's music has succeeded burrowing its way into the public consciousness. Now Nyman has joined forces with British soul singer and former Thieves frontman David McAlmont to add lyrical and vocal skill to his compositional mastery.
Lyrically, McAlmont took inspiration from everyday news stories to deliver subjects from 'assisted suicide' to 'reality television' to 'international jewellery heists', and though they're well accomplished, they're still often secondary to busy arrangements and McAlmont's own inimitable vocal style. That McAlmont wrote melody and lyrics over pre-existing Nyman compositions is evident, as the backing tracks sound complete already, while the vocals are often merely supplementary.
McAlmont's voice is at its most potent during The Glare's more forlorn, tender moments. Thus, gentle, graceful tracks like 'Secrets, Accusations and Charges', 'In Loas' and 'Fever Sticks and Bones' are the most powerful, perhaps because the orchestral arrangements don't overwhelm the vocals as they do on more sprightly numbers. For those that prefer Nyman's compositions in their purer form, The Glare ends with 17 minutes of instrumental 'Songs For Tony', where soft brass and wind surreptitiously twitch and blend.
The idea behind The Glare is a novel one, and where it works it can be quite compelling, but it doesn't always mesh in the right places.