John Puchiele Ensemble – ‘Change’


Captivating with both foreboding soundscapes and elegant piano-driven charm, Change is an eclectic instrumental release from John Puchiele Ensemble. The Toronto-based project concocts soundscapes fit for escape from a tumultuous world — conveying a sense of beauty throughout, though not without the proper range of emotions, particularly in the more foreboding crevices.

Enjoyably representative of the album’s fascinating twists and turns, “Level Rise” balances ominous chills with delicate beauty, shifting between delicate lushness and darker shifts (like at 02:30); the tonal balance is impressive in the midst of stark shifts. The contemplative, wistful energy reminds fondly of Thomas Newman’s piano-driven film scores, such American Beauty.

Change never lets up in being fascinating. Several tracks traverse into territory well beyond neo-classical elegance. The industrial, percussive stampede within “Time’s Up” evolves into a serene soundscape, after much of the first half shows a relentless and anxious vigor. Meanwhile, “Ecology Adrift” swells from gentle strings into a whirlwind of orchestral whimsy, showing a Stravinsky-esque ardency. Change is a consuming ride throughout.

Stream the album:

“Level Rise” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of December 2022’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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