Cabbaggage is the solo project of Vancouver-based singer and songwriter Levi Taschuk. “Microscripts,” one of Cabbaggage‘s recent albums, is dedicated to Robert Walser, one of the most mysterious writers of his time. The album is a collection of thirteen instrumental piano tracks, which manage to be both experimental and comforting while creating an intimate yet cinematic sound.
For this album, Levi reckons that each piano piece is a meditation on a corresponding “miscroscript” that Robert Walser wrote. I’d say it’s a masterclass of interpretation and, more importantly, evocation. Through every instrumental track, Cabbaggage gently leads us through emotional ebbs and flows from start to finish. Without a single word, a story can be told while making us feel emotions from sorrow to elation and back to sorrow yet again.
These pieces attempt to convey a variety of things at different times – sometimes it’s the specific subject matter of a microscript. Other times it’s the overarching impression that a microscript made on me. It’s not just the microscripts that I had in mind while working on this album, but Walser himself, or at least as much of him as I have so far come to know. His walks, his poverty, his mental breakdown. These and other details very much informed my intentions behind how the album sounds. Some pieces were fully composed. Others were improvised. And others were a combination of composition and improvisation. – Levi
The distant hints of experimental textures and touches of unsettling sounds, and unexpected and intricate time signatures only bring more mystery to the album. These thoughtful pieces infused with touches set them apart from standard solo piano works. Opening track ‘M. 337: Radio‘ sets the tone, and it is a graceful elegy with sparse, ethereal sound. While this sound is continued to the next track, Levi’s neoclassical leanings are most evident as you dig deeper into the album.
Tracks such as ‘M. 9: Jaunts elegant in nature‘, ‘M. 54: So here was a book again‘, ‘M. 72: Autumn (II)‘, or ‘M. 47: As I was instructed by a book,‘ have a darker, ambient feel, almost like creating cinematic soundscapes that are as evocative as they are impressive. ‘M. 23: And 407: A Drive‘ and ‘M. 50: My subject here is a victor‘ are pieces that evoke a solid sense of time, giving the listener just enough space to bring their own response to the music. The record has a deeply rooted sense of place, sending me back to my childhood house, making my memories come alive, letting them breathe, and making them absolutely essential.
“Microscripts” feels homely and pastoral all at once. The piano flow is very much in an ambient pioneer mode, with Levi making great use of tempo and melody to create a record rich in atmosphere and enough variation to hold attention. These substantial, dramatic works are mainly pastoral in theme, poetic and rhapsodic in nature. This is an engaging collection of diverse and distinctive piano music, allowing the listeners to explore some stunning gems. From start to finish, Cabbaggage‘s record is an ethereal, exquisite masterpiece that will make the perfect addition to any record collection.
The album is set to be released by Submarine Broadcasting Company on February 17th. Until then, be sure to read our review of Cabbaggage’s album “Piano Homage To Gormenghast” here.
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