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Chris Lastovicka is a New York modern classical composer and pianist whose works have been compared to towering figures like Philip Glass and Jóhann Jóhannsson. Lastovicka’s art gathers emotional momentum by meticulously exploring space, repetition, and restraint using experimental melodies, structures, and harmonies.
Now, Fortune Has Turned has been remixed and re-released. Chris Lastovicka held enough stature and connections to request big names for the process:
“When I was thinking about who I’d like to remix ‘Fortune Has Turned’, I thought about my favourite album, Massive Attack’s Blue Lines,” says Lastovicka. “I wondered if I would be able to even get Jeremy Allom, who mixed that album. I did, and it has been an incredible experience working with him and getting to know him.”
Following this, Emily Lazar, a Grammy-nominated engineer, was selected for the mastering process. She is notable, according to Lastovicka, due to her:
“…early background in creative writing, and her drive to tell the story of an album through her mastering work.”
‘Abraxas’ expresses a complex interchange between torment and struggle. The staggered, slicing strings pierce with intensity, and cascading piano lines traipse close behind. Somehow, Lastovicka shoehorns in a subdued French horn to add eerie undercurrents. While the strings meander between harmony and dissonance, culminating in a dramatic one-note piano break. The sequence is highly cinematic in quality, raw with emotion and narrative driven.
‘The Tender Ones’ is a haunting showcase of modal interchange and unusual chord configurations, adding a sense of mystery, terror, peace, and redemption throughout. Then, mid-way, the composition takes a turn that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Resident Evil soundtrack or a temple from The Legend of Zelda. The piano stutters along warily, collecting pace like a heartbeat sensing danger. Masterful key changes mark the myriad conflicting feelings this piece manifests. The final minute’s delicately ascending piano and brooding horns are sublime. Certainly, Lastovicka is an artist who can translate from a well-spring of deep emotions with remarkable fluidity.
Every track on this EP bears great character and musical depth, but the highlight is undoubtedly, ‘Shanti’. A two chord motif drives much of this piece. The jangling high notes complete a sound that’s akin to a Joanna Brouk meditation. Sure enough, the piece devolves bit-by-bit into dissonant, darker territory, guided by melancholic French horns and broken string arpeggios. Anxiously pensive spaces crowned with wailing strings emerge later on, before the energy dissipates and the brittle interplay between piano and strings lays the piece to rest.
Fortune Has Turned (Remixed) is no easy listen. Chris Lastovicka demands one’s full attention to grasp all the nuance and clever detail planted throughout. Thankfully, Lastovicka’s compositional chops are more than up to the task. Above all, this EP is a dense, powerful experience.