In Fallen Trees, the "connection with the environment continues," we're told, taking its cue from a long rail journey Melnyk made through Europe. Glancing out of the window as the train passed through a dark forest, he was struck by the sight of trees that had recently been felled. "They were glorious," he says. "Even though they'd been killed, they weren't dead. There was something sorrowful there, but also hopeful." That sense of sadness touched by optimism infuses the album, too: "rarely has Melnyk made music so shot through with melancholy and regret, but which sounds so rapt, even radiant," the label explains.
The album features a number of Erased Tapes artists. Japanese vocal artist Hatis Noit, lends ethereal vocals; other contributors include Berlin-based cellist Anne Müller, a sometime collaborator with Nils Frahm, and American singer David Allred, the most recent addition to the label family.
Born in Ukraine in 1948, Melnyk fell for the piano at an early age. After studying classical piano and graduating with a degree in Latin and Philosophy from St Paul's College in Winnipeg, in the early 1970s Melnyk found himself in Paris. Homeless and in desperate need of money, he supported himself by accompanying dance lessons for a company run by the experimental choreographer Carolyn Carlson. The experience became a kind of epiphany: watching Carlson's dancers, he began to play a new kind of music, spontaneous and improvisatory, responding not to rigid classical conventions but the dance he saw unfolding. Using the sustain pedal to create echo and reverb, he transformed free-flowing cascades of notes into hypnotic waves of sound. Eventually, he found a name for this new style: "continuous music," symbolized by extremely rapid notes and complex note-series, which he uses to this day.
Melnyk last appeared on Erased Tapes with 2015's Rivers And Streams album.
01. Requiem For A Fallen Tree
02. Son Of Parasol
04. Fallen Tree - Part I: Preamble
05. Fallen Tree - Part II: Existence
06. Fallen Tree - Part III: Apparition
07. Fallen Tree - Part IV: They Are Down
08. Fallen Tree - Part V: Not Forgotten
Fallen Trees LP out December 7, with "Son Of Parasol" available to stream below.