En Plein Air – L’alba Irradia l’inutile Parola


Track List

1 - L'alba
2 - Irradia
3 - L'inutile
4 - Parola

En Plein Air - L'alba Irradia l'inutile Parola

The Silent Ballet Score: 7.5/10

Fresh from the land of popes and Neil on Impression comes En Plein Air, a young act hoping to make a name for itself on a brand-newlabel, Fluttery Records. This four-track, 23-minute EP should establish them fairly quickly; it melds the professional guitar settings of the aforementioned group to the modern classical influences of Strangers Die Every Day, 3epkano and 417.3 in seemingly effortless fashion. The elevation of violin and cello to the position of equals with the other instruments is what sets this band apart; far too many other bands have treated these instruments as guest stars, failing to incorporate their vitality. While a handful of other guitar-based post-rock bands have honored string instruments in their compositional settings, this crossover field remains small, and guests are always welcome.

The French phrase "en plein air" means simply, "in the open air," and refers to location painting. The traditional image of an outdoor painter with an easel seems apt; but open air painting preceded the easel. The advent of tube-encased paints in the mid-19th century led to the popularization of the practice, as well as to the field ofImpressionism. En Plein Air seems to be commenting on this movement through their music: the strings represent the natural light, the drums and guitars are neutral, and the synthesizer, like the tube paint, represents the modern catalyst. The album title, "The dawn irradiates the useless word", is more open to interpretation. The hinge word is 'irradiate', which can mean either "to expose to radiation" or "to illuminate". Since useless words, once illuminated, remain useless, the title likely utilizes the primary definition. In this case, perhaps the dawn – the natural light preferred by Impressionists – destroys words, replacing them, one might guess, with music.

Such a grandiose statement may not be what En Plein Air had in mind when they recorded this EP, but their air of professionalism indicates that they have studied and practiced hard to produce this faceted document. The ideas presented here outnumber those on many full-length albums; the listening experience leaves one sated rather than starving. Because each of the tracks is fully-developed and nearly uniform in timbre, one might also argue that a longer collection might diminish the music's power. Should they consider a full-length release, the group would be well-advised to incorporate softer hues, a more varied palette.L'alba Irradia L'inutile Parola is exactingly controlled, which is admirable, and perhaps necessary due to its complexity; but more frequent solos, forays into improvisation and passages of near-silence would enhance the group's overall sound by throwing the more carefully-executed passages into relief.

That being said, this EP presents four tracks of nearly-uniform quality. Each contains at least one memorable violin passage, and shows admirable restraint in the repetition of the central melody. Opener "Parola" wraps around from overture to finale, and in the interim allows each instrument to wander on a very short leash. The song also includes a slight, but obvious build in its final minute, a lesson to all post-rockers who feel that they must stretch every ponderous passage to the fraying point. "Irradia," a recent entry on TSB's Tracks of the Week, runs slower and has more of a "traditional" post-rock feel, piling on the guitar work in its penultimate segment, but is notable for the avid drum rolls which carom around its closing crackle. "L'inutile" comes to a complete stop midway beforeintroducing a bridge, always a welcome compositional tactic; and closer "L'alba" seats the violin once again on its throne, reminding us who rules the roost. This piece, just like the opener, presents a compellingly simple passage at the beginning, rows offshore in the middle and returns to dock in the end.

This introductory salvo implies a promising post-rock future. En Plein Air already possesses the technical prowess and necessary confidence to stand out in a crowded field. Add a little more emotion to the mix, a dollop of the unpredictable, and even more sparks will fly.


Italian post-rock with classical, jazz and folkish bents, strongly flavoured by the sad elegance of an ever-pervasive violin. The EP is at its dreamy best when these disparate elements are given freedom to roam, moving the music away from more routine post-rock territory.

Once again a noteworthy group from Rome! […] The En Plein Air […] Their first piece is entirely instrumental. Intense and sincere. […] Soundtrack atmosphere. Bass to the fore and tune chiseled by a wonderful violin; unpredictable drums and clever in standing out at the right moment; guitars ready to back in the most emotional moments. Listeners are taken into a voyage of multiple moods. It prevails, however, a melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere […] L’alba irradia l’inutile parola (The dawn irradiates the useless word) shows at the same time technical skills and inspired intensity. It strikes for the perfect amalgamation among the various instruments. A very young band, but yet of high value. Curtain call! Bis!

Renounce to a packet of cigarettes and buy this CD. Listen to it at evening. No word. And when you think that the night, this night, began with dawn (you will understand), you’ll be who knows where, rocked by a music which still today I can’t explain and define to my friends. But trust me. If you trust me, you’ll find it is worthwhile to listen to it.

[…] L’alba irradia l’inutile parola (The dawn irradiates the useless word) is an ever pulsating and exciting musical trip. Brave, insofar it doesn’t need words. Listen in silence: the music will irradiate you as a spring dawn.

“Istrumental is better”. This is the program of the Rome quintet[…] The result reminds various influences which the band doesn’t hide: Mogwai, Pink Floyd, Sigur Ros, Goodspeed You! Black Emperor not to mention a certain jazz and classic approach which gives elegants to the tunes (or I would better say pieces). A suggestive cd which joins indie rock and ambience music, classicity and experimentation.

Release Date:  February 01, 2009
© 2009 Fluttery Records

Also available on: