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Equilibrium (Moises Daniel)

December 27, 2013

Cover_MoisesDanielEquilibriumEQUILIBRIUM

Moises Daniel, 2013, Moises Daniel
12 tracks, 50.22

A journey through different feelings, that is Moises Daniel’s cinematic album “Equilibrium”.

Review by Pete Simons

What is it?

Written and released privately by Spanish composer Moisés Díaz (aka Moises Daniel), “Equilibrium” represents a musical journey through various emotions. With influences from both the world of cinema and new-age, it is easy to image that this album will appeal to both audiences. Moises, who has been composing for over twenty years, notes he is inspired by Vangelis, Kitaro, Hans Zimmer, Pat Metheny, and Two Steps From Hell, amongst many others. Some of those influences are clearly noticeable  on this album.

What does it sound like?

Moises’ heroes are clearly present in his music. The sharp synthesizer leads and arpeggios of Vangelis, the slight Eastern sound of Kitaro and the somewhat more contemporary, jazz-infused style of Metheny.

Brought to my attention as a ‘trailer’ album, only the last two cues “Take My Hand, I Have Fear” and “Zimmeriada” contain some of the typical elements that make up modern trailer music: brass stabs, driving (rock) percussion and rising choir chords. They are the liveliest tracks on the album, though they don’t quite reach the dizzying heights of established trailer musicians such as Thomas Bergerson. Having said that, “Take My Hand…” is particularly enjoyable and its ending is very nicely executed.

The album opens with “Open Skies” which houses a long-lined melody and middle-eastern instrumentation that do its title justice. The percussion sounds particularly rich on this track, which would work nicely in a documentary. In fact, due to the moderate pace of the music, I see most of it fit for documentaries rather than trailers.

“Liberty” is one of the more cinematic cues, featuring staccato strings, running woodwinds and sweeping strings and brass. Its intentions are noble, but it’s slightly let down by the computerised sound of (some of) the samples (especially the staccato strings and brass). “Atlantic” starts off quite slowly with a ballet-like melody, but picks up tempo around the half-way mark in an early-Hans Zimmer sort of way. There is also something Michael Nyman-ish about the accompanying piano. The last section for strings-and-percussion-only feels to thin and requires extra backing to make it come to life.

“Fragile” and “Not So Fragile” are two of the better tracks on the album. The electric piano evokes memories of Craig Armstrong’s “The Space Between Us”. Guitar provides an exquisite melody, whilst strings and synth provide sweep. Some of it sounds as if it was played ‘live’ and ever-so slightly out of time. This adds a human touch to the music, even though we’ve come to expect perfection from studio albums. Echoing percussion (especially in “Not So Fragile”) remind of Armstrong once more. The subtly added synth sounds / effects recall Vangelis’ “Blade Runner”.

The bubbly synth arpeggios in “The Texture of Love” are another clear nod to Vangelis, whilst the track is otherwise carried by strings, solo violin and percussion. “Camino” combines ethnic percussion with drum kits, synths and a lovely theme for guitar. The ethnic percussion is carried through into “Blue Lagoon”, where a rising piano theme takes centre stage. There is a sweeping middle section for strings, but I’m struggling to engage with the orchestral sounds on this album as they feel a little fake compared to the piano, guitar and percussion. Luckily, the piano returns to finish off the cue.

“Adagio for Choir” is a slow-moving piece for choir and some solo voices. It is a beautiful piece that deserves a live performance, though the Cinesamples and Tonehammer libraries sound surprisingly convincing. Arguably the album’s highlight is “Prelude (For My Son Daniel)”. The echoing piano melody, augmented by glockenspiel is a delight.

Is it any good?

To me this is more of a new-age album, albeit one with a strong cinematic feel to it (especially the opening and two closing cues); and I could see the composer making a leap into film- or documentary scoring. “Equilibrium” houses some lovely melodies and orchestrations. I am also impressed with the mixing and the warmth and richness of the sound; as well as with the album’s coherency. There is a consistent style and sound throughout the album, which is much appreciated and elevates “Equilibrium” to more than the sum of its parts. The orchestral samples seem of varying quality though and as a result the album is at its best when the focus is on piano or guitar, accompanied by synths, rock drum kits and ethnic percussion. An enjoyable album; and one that benefits from repeated listens.

Rating [3/5]

Tracklisting

1. Open Skies (5.22)
2. Liberty (2.14)
3. Atlantic (4.21)
4. Fragile (6.32)
5. The Texture of Love (5.56)
6. Camino (3.07)
7. Not So Fragile (6.23)
8. Blue Lagoon (2.34)
9. Adagio for Choir (4.48)
10. Prelude (For My Son Daniel) (3.17)
11. Take My Hand, I Have Fear (3.09)
12. Zimmeriada (2.39)

Available
Digitally on iTunes and Amazon

Additional Information
More info on Soundtracks and Trailer Music.

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