Short but oh so sweet – many of the finest things in life can be summed up as such, and today’s premiere is no exception. We are handed not even three minutes of music and visuals, but what we get is so enchanting that a) it feels like time stands still for a moment anyway and b) looping it for at least a handful of times becomes a must, not just a mere option.
Ô Lake is a project helmed by French composer Sylvain Texier (of Fragments fame), who envisioned it as a pop-informed neoclassical outlet aside from his previous maneuvers in post-rock and electronica. Influenced by the romantic poetry of French lyricist and politician Alphonse de Lamartine, he handles his piano as lightly and tactfully as humanly possible, as you will hear on “Innocence”, today’s object of… I don’t want to say scrutiny; it sounds so harsh for a piece this graceful. Let’s say admiration instead.
‘Ainsi, toujours poussés vers de nouveaux rivages,
dans la nuit éternelle emportés sans retour,
ne pourrons-nous jamais sur l’océan des âges
jeter l’ancre un seul jour?‘
‘And so! Pushed constantly toward new coasts,
Swept away into eternal night, with no return,
Can we never on the ocean of ages
Throw down an anchor for a single day?‘
This is the first stanza of Lamartine’s poem Le Lac, from which Ô Lake derives its title. It becomes obvious fairly early on that the merciless forward motion of time is a point of contention for the poet, who, in the words of Texier himself, ‘asks that time be suspended so we can savor our best days‘. Ô Lake is Texier’s answer to that plea, not only in the form of “Innocence”, but also in that of the album it’s lifted from: Still, which will be released on March 3, 2023.
Listen to "Innocence" below!
“Innocence” utilizes the felt piano technique, in which a piece of felt is placed between the hammers and the strings of an upright piano to elevate the instrument’s internal dampening, resulting in a wonderfully soft and delicate sound that gives this piece a touch of nostalgia and elegance. Immersive and sincere, “Innocence” invites the listener to sojourn within its brief but impactful runtime.
The accompanying video that constitutes the main part of this here premiere (the single was released digitally on November 4) is assembled from various black-and-white shots of birds in flight, from humble seagulls to majestic birds of prey. It’s beautifully made, and it lends itself quite well to the sound of Texier’s sensitive piano musings.
Still, which will be the second Ô Lake album since the project’s creation in 2017, was recorded with the help of a 40-piece string orchestra; its nine pieces run the gamut from the intimate style demonstrated by “Innocence” to bits and pieces of beat-driven electronica. As I mentioned above, it will come out on March 3, 2023 via Patchrock. Until then, you can find Texier’s previous works under the Ô Lake moniker on Bandcamp. Be sure to also keep an eye on him over on Facebook and Youtube, and have a look at his website too while you’re at it.
Artist pictures courtesy of Thomas Dilis