Malam is the Indonesian word for night. As musical inspirations go, the night is an old muse. The idea that music can be created specifically for or to evoke night has been a tradition in Classical Music since John Field wrote the first Nocturne in 1812. Frédéric Chopin, who popularized the nocturne, created 21 of them. Debussy composed three, Satie six…and so on. Malam is not a nocturne, at least not by academic standards. However, Malam by Wilson Trouvé shares the same spirit and it carries forward a long tradition of music influenced by the power of night.
Why do you think the night is such a potent inspiration in the history of classical music?
An evocation of the night.
Debussy departed with the traditions established by Chopin to create a nocturne based specifically on what the night looked like. His Nocturnes attempted to capture the visual quality of impressionist night paintings by James Whistler. The result was an explosive and energetic symphony. Wilson Trouvé is a bit like Claude Debussy. They don’t sound similar but they both come at the subject matter from a unique direction. Malam is not a representation of the night nor is it a lullaby meant to help you sleep. Wilson Trouvé’s music emerges from the experience and solitude of the night.
Do you think composing and recording at night influenced the peaceful quality of your sound?
Malam is a musical artifact born from the night.
Listening to Malam produces the type of feeling that only comes in the late hours of the evening when you’re allowed to discard life’s many responsibilities. Like a good sleep, Trouvé’s music has a regenerative quality. He produces this effect through a reductive palette stripped of superfluous sound and distractions. It is quiet and understated, never becoming overly complex or challenging. The nine tracks contain a handful of ideas rendered in a simple yet beautiful form with piano, strings, and subtle electronics. Trouvé gives the listener space to contemplate the abstract quality of his ideas and find peace in the gentle rhythm and melody.
The confidence of Trouve’s sound stems from his family and those he loves.
Wilson Trouvé talks about his music in refreshingly personal terms. For example, he describes composing and recording his music in the spare moments between parenting duties, usually late at night while his wife and daughter sleep. The album title Malam is credited to his wife, a native Indonesian who suggested the title. Trouvé composing into the late hours conveys a uniquely genuine and unpretentious picture. It’s clear that Malam is a labor of love and its humble inception translates to its sound.
What role does your personal life play in your art? Has fatherhood influenced the way you compose music?
No matter how contemporary a piece of new music may seem, it will always evoke some form of tradition and history. All music is embodied with what came before it, especially classical music. The potent tension between the old and the new is what makes the Contemporary Classical genre so special. Wilson Trouvé’s music is no exception because it evokes the great tradition of the classical nocturne albeit on personal and contemporary terms. Malam aligns with traditions of classical night music while simultaneously fostering a personal sound that is colored by the perspective and life circumstance of the composer.