M. Ostermeier

M. Ostermeier - Still, artist sat on sofa in bright living room


“Still” is a serene journey across unruffled waters. The bays glisten and the piano reclines in a reflective, contemplative way as it gazes out at the endless blue of the sea from its tiny, tree-lined island. The sun can’t shine forever, though. Anchored to the piano, soft and cold electronic currents, flecked by a light drone, gently touch the golden sand as they wash ashore. It’s the unavoidable flux of respiration, a never-ending, necessary process: one inward inhalation followed by an outward exhalation. It never stops.

Occasional dissonances are masked by a quick resurrection of harmony. A couple of diatonic notes are never far away, and the sparse nature of the piano ensures that the music can suspend itself in its cosy hammock. In this place, the piano is incredibly delicate — it needs a ‘This Way Up’ sticker plastered to its side — and yet it’s warmly textured. Its internal body heat keeps the music glowing despite it laying on the edge of cool, electronic waters. Electronics ripple against the tide as they try to displace the piano. In a way, the electronics win — the piano retreats to the background as the rhythmical textures ripple and repeat. While that may be the case, the electronic influence is only ever a light one, and this is the only time it comes close to shading the piano. Usually, the electronics stay in the shadows and never threaten to fully submerge the bay, and as a result the piano is the sole focus of attention. On “Still”, the silence is just as important as anything else. In fact, the silence is a crucial part of the music. A hundred pebbles rattle and clatter lightly against the side of the piano, but they don’t clutter the music. How can that be? That’s the magic of music, isn’t it? It is slowly cradled on the crest of a wave of inactivity.

The electronics infiltrate the piano’s terrain. It at first blends in, and then works its way in front of the piano. They are no longer equals by the time ‘Counterpoise’ arrives, but later on the piano manages to regain its former, firm grip.

It is minimal music, and, for the most part, calm and clear. On ‘Inertia’, cicadas chirp under the pale light of a distant moon. A light breeze skirts around the tall grass. The piano’s in a sullen mood; the white orb of its sun obscured by resilient clouds of grey. The tourists have gone home. They have left the bay to lay there, still, in the cooler, flat temperatures of an autumn yet-to-come. Music is life, and like everything else in life, the tide comes in, the tide goes out.





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