Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows – Heartland Radio (ENG review)

On SoundSpore Records – Street Date March 15th 2024
Remy Le Boeuf's Assembly of Shadows

From the very first track, it’s clear why Remy Le Bœuf and his Assembly of Shadows were nominated for the Grammys. Here, everything unfolds in widescreen format with themes rolled out track by track like movie scores, majestically orchestrated and perfectly polished arrangements, even borrowing from the brass arrangements reminiscent of 80s EWF. Remy Le Boeuf finds inspiration in the ever-evolving sonic landscape of the great American road trip. Across seven tracks of striking ingenuity and intimacy, Le Boeuf’s ensemble, the Assembly of Shadows, merges the language of modern jazz and classical textures with ideas and emotions drawn from pop radio. Echoes of indie rock, R&B, dance-pop, alternative, and EDM infuse breathtaking orchestral harmony, agile ensemble play, and masterful solos — including those from the conductor, whose crystalline work on the viola speaks to a deep understanding that only the composer of the music could achieve.
Navigating through various forms of American musical cultures, subtly, everything is smoothly brought together in Le Bœuf’s delicate compositions. The fact that this composer is a saxophonist is evident in his way of writing music; this instrument allows him to connect the notes to offer melodically rich lines full of colors. Here, we’re right in the midst of it. “Barbara” scrolls through the radio dial between the classic pop-folk of the early 70s and the kind of intelligent singer-songwriter music tinged with jazz associated with Brian Blade or Rebecca Martin. A collaboration between Le Boeuf and poet Sara Pirkle, “Barbara” was written for California sculptor Barbara Holmes, whose work is featured on the album cover. “We’re not in love with Barbara,” Le Boeuf says with a laugh, “we just think she deserves a love song.” Nevertheless, a profound sense of unrequited love, even passionate despair, permeates Julia Easterlin’s vocal performance as well as Martha Kato’s piano solo.
Evidently, Remy Le Boeuf is involved in all forms of art; it’s undoubtedly this cultural richness that gives meaning to the work of this artist because inevitably, as soon as one creates, everything can become a source of inspiration. For that, one just needs to know how to look, appreciate, and fully immerse oneself. It’s all these things that make this album indispensable to us; this title “Barbara” could have also been interpreted by Suzanne Vega, so vivid is the interpretation of this song.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 4th 2024


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