The name Dustin O’Halloran will probably draw a blank from most people in music circles but the American pianist and composer has been plying his trade for some time now, having worked on the soundtracks for Marie Antoinette and An American Affair and having his music featured for Audi, Brita and Top Gear, no less.
Last year O’Halloran signed to Fat Cat to produce his first album with the label, Lumiere. Despite being relatively unknown to this point, Lumiere offers production credits to Johann Johansson, Al Wiltzie [Stars of the Lid] and contemporary pianist Nils Frahm, which should offer a suggestion of how the album sounds.
Recorded over three years in a number of different locations, the album is a beautiful blend of piano and string accompaniment not a million miles from Johansson’s own work, though more stripped and bare. That is not to say it is a simplistic recording though, O’Halloran combines slow, sombre piano playing with well-arranged melodies, the strings on ‘Quintet No.1’ being a particular testament to this. It is ‘We Move Lightly’, though, which is the real pièce de résistance of Lumiere. O’Halloran’s piano is moving and melancholic while the string section makes the listener to swoon, it is truly a beautiful recording.
Any fans of Stars of the Lid or Johann Johansson or contemporary classical in general need to buy this album. It is an absolute gem in both production and in its composition. O’Halloran should go unknown no longer.