As is often the case, Alexandra Stréliski has had help in her rise to new-classical music prominence. The support came from close to home.
Fellow Montrealer and film director Jean-Marc Vallée assigned her soundtrack work on his Dallas Buyers Club in 2013. They collaborated again, three years later on Demolition.
In 2017, Stréliski’s contribution to HBO’s Big Little Lies captured the mood of the program and its powerful storyline perfectly.
But to win an international audience, you’ve got to have world-class talent. Celebrity endorsements can open doors, but they don’t do much for you once you’re in the room.
Right now, Stréliski is owning an awful lot of rooms. Her new album Inscape is the kind of recording few composers can conceive of, let alone execute.
Surprisingly, the artist who has called both Montreal and Paris home over the years, says the album was recorded during a difficult time.
“Inscape was an existential crisis,” she says in the album’s notes. “A year where everything capsized and I had to go through various interior landscapes – hectic, beautiful and painful at the same time.”
You can hear all of that over the album’s 37 minutes. “A piano, on its own, is a very vulnerable thing,” she says. “I want to share this moment with the listener.”
Inscape is largely a solo piano effort. Fans of HBO’s Strange Objects will recognize her contribution to that soundtrack too (not to mention a prominent product placement).
The album’s final track, on the other hand, demos Stréliski’s interest in electronic music. She delivers an imposing, heavily treated vocal over a dark ambient synth/beat. It’s a neat little outlier that suggests there’s another side to this talented women, one we’d like to hear more of.