Release Notes

Label: Platoon
Release: Ravel in the Forest
Date: February 16th, 2024
Video By: Dr. Formalyst

In most cases, when I cover post- or modern-classical genres in this publication, I talk about [established] composers taking a cross-over leap to the classical music scene. These are, of course, the likes of Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter, and Jóhann Jóhannsson, as well as Balmorhea, Hauschka, and Peter Gregson, who get picked up by some prestigious classical labels, such as Deutsche Grammophon, recognising that the contemporary following of this sound include the roots of electronic and ambient music. And then, there are some great occasions when I see this evolving in reverse, and we are introduced to musicians reaching our ears from the classical music scene, perfectly combining compositional elements that span the range of time in centuries. One such notable composer is the London-based Taiwanese-Australian Belle Chen, whom I discovered about four years ago during her performance at the CAN Festival. Recognised as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Chen has been commissioned by BBC Sounds, London Fashion Week, and The Joffrey Ballet Chicago, among many other classical organisations. Her new album, Ravel In The Forest, recently released by Platoon, is a piano-led melodic flutter of melodies (and yes, a few synth lines), “born from a need to find space and peace within nature.” For today’s exclusive premiere, I’m sharing a piece titled “Kingdom Animalia,” which is accompanied by a surrealist animated music video created by visual artist Dr. Formalyst, “blurring the boundaries between plants and animals to show how all life is intertwined through shared biological and evolutionary processes.” It’s a lovely and playful track that perfectly works with the assembled animation!

The unique visual strategy, depicting animals as animated plants, serves to deliberately slow down perception. These ambiguous, detailed forms stimulate our brains to perform meticulous visual analysis, rather than swiftly comprehend through realism. Steering clear of explicit storytelling, the video unfolds a sequence of visuals that grow, shrink and vibrate to the music, and tease the viewers’ imagination to ponder the potential life forms that could have emerged on an alternative evolutionary path.

As already mentioned, the 16-track full album, Ravel In The Forest, is out as of February 16, 2024, via Platoon, and you can pick it up on a 4-panel digipak CD or stream on all of your favourite platforms.