(01.2007, Bedroom Community)
Nico Muhly's debut full length contains compositional amblings through various themes and motifs. Hinting at Steve Reich, what Muhly has done here is make an orchestral album with muscle. While much of the modern classical landscape of contemporaries like Max Richter and Johann Johannsson are filled with minor-chord sob compositions, Muhly has created a flexible and organic suite of music that is a breath of fresh air amongst the stagnating frost. Muhly isn’t new to the indie music world having previously worked with Philip Glass, Bjork and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. With a pedigree of top notch production credits to his name it’s no wonder that Speaks Volumes is masterfully recorded. Crisp and resonating, Muhly has crafted an effort that is equally playful, adventurous and emotional rich. The pieces swerve from eternally building string efforts of "It Goes Without Saying" to the contemplative piano of "Quite Music" to the robust frolicking arrangements of "Pillaging Music" and back again. Speaks Volumes ends with the intensely beautiful "Keep In Touch," bearing vocal instrumentation from Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) and cementing Muhly’s efforts as one of the most realized of the year. For the most profound effect; Speaks Volumes should be played on earmuff sized headphones and allowed to completely consume your attention. One of the most stunningly gorgeous and ambiguously narrative musical experiences I’ve heard in a long time.
Nico Muhly's website