I really wish I had the chance to review more classical music. While I don't consider myself an expert on the genre, I always find that listening to classical gives me musical experiences I truly could not get anywhere else, and when you've been listening to metal all day long, you can find it to be a welcome reprieve. That's why I jumped at the chance to hear the latest release from Oleg Shpudeiko, a Ukranian composer since 2003 who works under the name Heinali. His new release is the simply titled Air.
The music is every bit as minimalist and ambient as the title would lead you to believe, and trust me, I am not using those terms lightly. This is the kind of minimalism that could put the likes of Phillip Glass to shame. You should expect lots of space and emptiness to be worked into the composition of these pieces, and movement that is slow yet still purposeful. There isn't much in the way of development to the pieces—often just a single theme is repeated and embellished—but that actually works perfectly well with the atmosphere Shpudeiko creates, filled with soft piano lines and uninsistent string parts. The only time the music even hints at pressuring your attention is on the finale “Bells”, where the mallet parts chime through with such contrasting brightness and clarity that it's hard not to notice the striking (hah) difference.
Aside from that, there's nothing obtuse or uninviting about the compositions that could turn you away—they're very melodic and contemplative, the kind of music anyone could sit down and enjoy. Though no one particular piece stands out, the way the album works as a whole is very moving and quite pleasant overall. While the aforementioned minimalism makes it very difficult to focus on listening, it can be wonderful as background music for the casual listener (and that's not meant to be taken as an insult). It's music that doesn't demand your attention to enjoy fully, but can still be rewarding if you do.
In summary, there isn't really anything shocking or challenging about Air, but in all honesty, it doesn't try to be either. It's simply some beautiful music to be enjoyed without any pretension or bombast, and I can respect that. If you are looking for some enjoyable soundscapes to massage your eardrums to, check out these compositions.
7.0 / 10
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