Our Take: Alexandra Stréliski’s ‘INSCAPE’ Is a Melancholic, Bright Step Towards Finding Hope

Alexandra Stréliski © Le Petit Russe
Alexandra Stréliski © Le Petit Russe

Adrian's Take

Wistful and delicate, Alexandra Stréliski’s sophomore album ‘INSCAPE’ provides a captivating and enthralling experience that cements the artist’s place as the best in the neoclassical world.

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We want to know that there is more beneath the surface; that our world is not just some infallible course that ultimately is vacant. We want to be left in a state of wonderment and awe, to find difficulty in comprehending why certain visuals or sounds leave us weeping while still accepting that some questions don’t need answering. What we crave is emotion, a characteristic we hope to find in all aspects of the world, and there is no better conduit of showing it than through the piano.

The piano is an instrument that is able to express a staggering amount of emotion, making an alluring sound that can create a world of sincerity and unpredictability through no more than a single stroke of a key. Because of this, it’s no wonder many are drawn to it – the memories it can help revitalize or the passions it can reignite. With her sophomore album INSCAPE, Alexandra Stréliski has done exactly that.

Listen: ‘INSCAPE’ – Alexandra Stréliski

INSCAPE - Alexandra Stréliski
INSCAPE – Alexandra Stréliski

After an eight-year gap from her debut Pianoscope, Montreal-based artist and composer Alexandra Stréliski’s latest foray into the neoclassical world of piano marks a much-welcomed return. Released October 5, 2018 via Secret City Records, INSCAPE is an album of hope and stillness, an ethereal collection of contemplative tunes that expresses a yearning for self-reflection. It looks inward and, as the title suggests with its portmanteau of “interior” and “landscape,” aims to escape.

The album opens with “Plus tôt,” a stunning tune with a bright melody whose soundscape creates the most fitting beginning to a journey towards a better tomorrow. With “The Quiet Voice” quickly following, a touch of melancholy is presented, but it never becomes overbearing, and despite the melancholic nature, the tune is still dainty and sweet. It’s hard not to feel warm while listening and even when after the music stops.

Getting closer to the halfway point, “Changing Winds” provides an impactful and sorrowful melody that is equal parts haunting and majestic. Each stroke of the key is like an emotional punch to the listener, and yet it’s still undeniably addicting. With “Interlude,” a change in sound can be heard. It’s faint, but a small breath of synth productions can be made out in the track. The extra texture that it adds is almost like a message, that there is something just beyond our fingertips.

Alexandra Stréliski © Le Petit Russe
Alexandra Stréliski © Le Petit Russe

Towards the close, “Overturn” is notable for its change in pace. It’s fast but steady, and maybe even a little dramatic. It’s a heavy tune, one that is complex and gorgeous at the same time. With the closing track, “Le Nouveau Départ,” tender and playful come to mind. A delicate sound that closes the journey with enchantment, poise, and vulnerability.

INSCAPE is an album of emotional intensity that is brimming with personal touches. It’s immensely passionate and provides a soundtrack to life’s successes but also its failures. Each melody is a fresh experience that one can easily see and hear as being born out of raw emotion and feeling, serving to only strengthen the impact of the album and help in its longevity for years to come. Stréliski has crafted a powerful piece of art and shown why she sits at the top for neoclassical artists.

INSCAPE is enthralling, and by not listening through its entirety, one would only be doing themselves a disservice.

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:: purchase/stream INSCAPE here ::

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INSCAPE - Alexandra Stréliski

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