Build – Place

Build – Place

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The five-piece ensemble Build, led by their violinist and composer Matt McBane, have found a fitting home for their brand of instrumental music. New Amsterdam Records has increasingly become an excellent source for classical based music and, in one case (that being Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope song sequence), given us a masterpiece of the neo classical school. New Amsterdam now gives us Build’s sophomore effort, Place. The hour long offering is a display of proficient musicianship in which Build bends genres and constructs a graceful score.

Place contains nine tracks that run the gamut of instrumental influences. The opener “Behavior Patterns” is more like the offering of a traditional jazz outfit with its hi-hat drive, string plucking and peppy melodies. Build then instantly shows their versatility as “Dissolve” imposes a bigger instrumental rock sound, as this section of Place seems dedicated to showing that the band is comfortable shifting its mode as needed.

The album is structured in the traditional three parts, made up of three tracks each: the style hopping beginning, the three movements of “Swelter” that make up the middle, and then its chilling yet optimistic ending. It is in that stronger third act that Build hits their stride and craft a graceful and emotional piece of music.

The last three tracks clock in as the longest ones on the album, which helps them become the most compositionally accomplished as each is given more space to breath and fully flesh out. “Cleave” begins with the shrieking of one violin but builds to multiple layers that howl continuously. A simple pattern is laid by the piano while the drums escalate driving the momentum of the track. The result is haunting and elegant. “Anchor” kicks off with an eerie beginning then progresses with several movement changes of its own. One aspect that highlights this ending is the ability of the strings to carry the weight of each track. Closer “Maintain” uses the nimble strings as a meditation tool as they steer the song forward to a seemingly inspirational soundtrack.

The arc encased in the final act jumps from somber (“Cleave”), to evolving (“Anchor”) to motivating (“Maintain”). While they can hold their own in changing techniques, Build comes across strongest when grounded in classical arrangements as such. Yet from start to finish, Place displays five musicians with the ability to craft great instrumental music.

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