If a French experimental composer wrote music based on a Japanese novel he liked, would anybody hear it?
"Lignes is a performance imagined and composed by Bruno Letort based on the eponymous novel by Murakami Ryu," states some small text on the back of Letort's latest release. Ah, there's nothing quite like an esoteric reference point for your ambitious, erudite project to keep the naysayers at bay, is there? Despite the cloudy source material likely to alienate anyone not familiar with contemporary Japanese literature, Lignes is a moody, impressive piece of work complete with a billowy chamber ensemble, spiky guitars and vocalizations that swim just below the surface of the mix. The whole package almost comes undone at the end by "Les Autres", a 12-minute tone poem -- the word "preachy" doesn't even begin to cover it. Still, someone has to navigate these puzzling waters of music and literature, if only to uncover their unknown strengths while trying to avoid their obvious weaknesses.