Various – Keys (A Comprehensive Collection Of Contemporary Piano Compositions)
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For Satie, I believe, the piano represented a way of realizing unparalleled moments of oneness. I always like to use the term “transmigration”, whereby the subject projects their entire being onto another, a process that can be compared to active reincarnation: the soul moves away to exist within another. In the above quote, I believe this is what Satie was getting at; the act of composing requires the musician to accompany oneself away from oneself. In a very Kafka-esque way, the musician becomes the piano.
On Keys (A Comprehensive Collection Of Contemporary Piano Compositions), which involves the combined efforts of artists working at the forefront of the modern classical genre, the piano is the focus and the epitome of creation. Some of the artists involved feature the piano exclusively (Nils Frahm, Richard A Ingram, and Library Tapes) while others use the foundation of the piano to venture into obtuse territory (Machinefabriek, Krater). In every instance, it is all done to great effect. Each of the nine compositions can rightfully be considered highlights, depending on time of day or mood. From Machinefabriek’s drifting apparitions of piano notes on “Ivory Ghosts” to Nils Frahm’s “Because This Must Be”, who after being involved in work that strayed away from the piano compositions he has become well known for, returns with a wonderfully contemplative work.
Peter Broderick’s piece, “Arthur’s Opinion”, begins with strained piano notes but evolves into something epic, complete with violin and voice and rousing crescendos. Rafael Anton Irisarri, who delivered one of year’s best releases in Reverie, treats the listener to the precise, dirge-like “These Red Winters”. A real highlight for me was the piece by Gabriela Parra entitled “The Child Who Talked To The Wind”, whose elegant phrasing is truly a wonder to behold. I was unfamiliar with her work and, as the album’s closer, really ties everything together quite nicely. Of all the excellent compositions presented here, none are more moving than Richard A Ingram’s contribution, “Nocturne No.6”. As the opening piece on this LP-only release, it manages to lay the heart out bare, unobstructed, and encompasses everything that’s holy about the piano.
“Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.” – Erik Satie
A truly remarkable release, Keys captures the aura surrounding the piano and subjects the listener to the intricacies inherent to the instrument. The listener should walk around it several times, and breathe in every ounce of its soul. – Review by Michael Vitrano for Fluid Radio
A1 Richard A Ingram – Nocturne No. 6
A2 Library Tapes – Medans Vinden Tog Ljudet Ifrån Oss
A3 Sommer – Fall House
A4 Rafael Anton Irisarri – These Red Winters
A5 Peter Broderick – Arthur’s Opinion
B1 Nils Frahm – Because This Must Be
B2 Machinefabriek – Ivory Ghosts
B3 Krater – Resaka
B4 Gabriela Parra – The Child Who Talked To The Wind
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