A self-taught pianist from the age of 7, Dustin O’Halloran’s personal histories give us some clue to the thickly-woven tapestries of his music: he has lived in LA (where he studied art at Santa Monica College and formed the much-adored Devics with Sara Lov), Italy (in the depths of rural Emilia Romagna) and Berlin. His arresting, heartbreaking music is as much an elegant exercise in nuance and grace as it is a pure, intuitive, personal expression – and here is where we see some explanation into Dustin’s quiet rise to notoriety and his continued ascension.
Having gained serious recognition with his stunning score to Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film 'Marie Antoinette' (a neat fit alongside the critical acclaim for his further soundtrack work for William Olsen’s 'An American Affair' (2010) and Drake Doremus’ Sundance-winning 'Like Crazy' (2011), Dustin has quickly become one of the most recogniseable names in the broad-reaching “post-classical” field. Now sitting alongside peers and allies Max Richter, Hauschka and Johann Johannsson (who, incidentally, aided Dustin in mixing his 'Lumiere' album) on FatCat’s dedicated orchestral imprint 130701, Dustin's FatCat debut 'Lumiere 'is a glowing addition to his musical canon, at once an amalgamation of everything that his music had been leading up to, and an unprecedented step forwards in terms of timbral palette and harmony. Featuring NYC’s ACME Quartet, Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and prodigious young composer Peter Broderick among the guest musicians, the scale of 'Lumiere' is expansive: “it made me realize how important it is to find players that truly understand what you do and to create a language with them,” writes Dustin.
Dustin’s rock background - primarily with Bella Union’s “dream-pop” outfit Devics – has yielded an unassuming, perceptive approach to composing modern classical pieces. Inspired by, among others, Arvo Part, Philip Glass, Hans Otte, John Luther Adams, Olivier Messiaen, Ennio Morricone, Gavin Bryars, there is no lack of articulation or academic musicality in Dustin’s work, but there is also none of the aloofness or detachment that is so readily perceived around contemporary classical music. This can perhaps be attributed to the environments in which Dustin has worked - 'Lumiere' is full of those rare elements of life shared by both vibrant cities and lush countrysides: colour, both organic and rich, sensorial intrigue and a deep awareness of space. Or perhaps it is a product of Dustin’s synaesthesia - a condition he first noticed around the time of his performance at New York’s Guggenheim Museum for their Kandisnky retrospective and 50th anniversary gala. Able to visualize his compositions as vividly as a painter might see his own work, Dustin’s expressiveness is beyond compare.
'Lumiere' is Dustin’s third solo full-length, following a pair of albums released on Bella Union in 2004 and 2006 ('Piano Solos vol. 1' and 'Piano Solos vol. 2'). These two records were originally an opportunity for Dustin to express a non-Devics creative streak: gently and privately pieced together piano suites written and recorded on a beautifully-restored 1920’s Sabel piano in his Italian farmhouse. The compositions, however, gradually grew into fully-formed solo pieces as Dustin’s ambitions and designs developed. The path, of course, would eventually lead him to 'Lumiere’s majestic, swooning ensemble arrangements and a focus-shift away from the piano as his work’s primary timbre without losing any of the affection for the instrument that bore his first two records.
Following hot on the heels of that album came the sublime solo live album, 'Vorleben', which was released by FatCat / 130701 in June 2011. With his reputation increasingly growing, Dustin has since been touring and working on further film scores.
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