While we often say creativity is sparked, it’s not every day that you hear about an actual electrocution inspiring an album. But on VOLT, LAAKE’s new release, it was indeed a violent electric shock provoked by a faulty light fixture that sparked the musician’s imagination and transformed what was initially meant to be a solo piano album into an eerie and thrilling journey. Animated by a force that seems to come from within, VOLT is a dazzling tale that takes listeners on a hypnotic spin.
The first thing that stands out in hearing LAAKE play the piano is the speed and precision with which he hits the keys. Through his looping, twirling and cascading repetitions he transforms the act of playing into a hallucinatory process which immediately takes the mind away from the stillness of concert halls to a far more dynamic place. It’s a style that has come to define the musician over the years and expresses the urgency with which he learned to play the instrument, forgoing any classical theory or training to dive into playing head first. Years of this burning engagement with the piano have transformed his dexterity and natural penchant for rhythmics into a signature sound,
“The piano is a percussive instrument, and that’s what interests me about it,” says the musician. Although the piano has always remained central in LAAKE’s journey, this interest in the instrument’s percussive qualities led him to stray from the typical contemporary classical path allowing him to explore different sound worlds, from rock bands to progressive electronic projects. From playing alongside electronic artists such as Laurent Garnier, Vitalic and Max Cooper to performing with the orchestra in Theatre du Châtelet in Paris, LAAKE’s journey has been marked by experimentation.
There’s a cinematic grandeur to the single LAM which can in part be explained by the scope of the project. Aside from LAAKE, ten musicians from classical, jazz and contemporary music backgrounds were involved in the album. Together they combined piano, strings, brass and percussion to achieve VOLT’s multi-faceted and rich sound world. “The sound of my new album is clearly brighter than my previous releases, I’ve moved away from electronic music towards something less cold and more human”. The presence of a trap-style sub-bass, vocals as well as the very structure of the tracks itself with verses, chorus and bridges make the music – although grand – entirely enjoyable journeys.