Double Helix as a name for an album is somewhat intriguing as the definition of Helix is that of three dimensional object, but as the music unfolds, particularly from the first of the two disc album titled Refractor Piano, it not so far off key, pardon the pun, as this work for solo piano is just that, three dimensional in every aspect.
To say it is a lot like Jazz put through the spectrum of electronica is close, as it is indeed music that has been subjected to change through what is called a Refractor Piano™, an instrument that has been adapted to be able to create a new way of playing and composing music to create a unique tapestry of sound.
Unusual and fascinating Surfing the Sunrise, a piece that is vibrant, lively and at first difficult to categorise, until the sound of a piano is discovered in the electronic buzz surrounding the notes, which when listened to carefully is absolutely intricate, original and absolutely out there.
As this is the first track on Disc 1 Refractor Piano, what follows is nothing short of a journey into a cacophony of sound created on a Steinway piano, with some electronic input that does, after several listens, capture the imagination, transporting the mind to wherever it chooses to follow.
Secret Sauce definitely has Jazz origins, Moon Vines transports, Fugitive Heart could be born out of the earth music created in the most mystical of places, the night skies and galaxies. In contrast Catch Your Breath is somewhat ethereal, with Dark Moon, a carefully presented, slightly slower piece full of hidden meaning rising over an Invisible Highway, an up-tempo piece that captures with a jangling insistence, before dissolving into Emergence the final thought-provoking piece, full of dark and light, fascinating in it construction and delivery.
Moving on to Disc 2 Solo Piano this is Peter Manning Robinson as he is more popularly known; an award winning pianist, noted for his Jazz and Classical playing and composition of transcendent music. Labyrinth of Petal is like a benediction to the ears as it is gentle, with a delicious lilt to the playing, soft, comforting and delightful; the perfect piece to introduce an album and in complete contrast to Disc I Refractor Piano.
Fresh Light dances across the keyboard bringing a light airy element of joy and happiness to the airwaves. Enigma is a slow, jazz based piece that is sensual, reflective, drifting and incredibly full of dreams. This is a piece to enjoy over and over again.
Do ghosts swim, well maybe, or at least Robinson believes so, as he has captured them in their time out with the quirky Swimming with Ghosts; ethereal elements enjoying the moment in what could be considered celestial waters, enjoying the clear, crisp and beautiful waters to be found when ghosts do definitely arrive in the very real time between and betwixt.
Penultimate and contemplative is Sweet Shadows, rich in the creation of simplistic elements, free flowing and peaceful before Inside Out arrives with a captivating, joy filled playfulness to the composition that teases the imagination, dances around the edges of consciousness and draws a contrasting, free flowing, and absolutely improv collection of works to a soft and dreamy conclusion.
2020 will be a year which will long be remembered for so many unexpected and unwanted events but beauty has been sought and discovered, much of it through the medium of music. Double Helix, could be considered as the metaphor for a year that has been anything but ‘normal’, whatever that may be; discordant, yet structured and purposeful on Disc 1 with a return to gentle, softer and happier times on Disc 2 both being part of life as we know it now and as it has always been; just life!
Double Helix, different, exciting and up there with BlueSilhouettes’ Utopia and Deborah Offenhauser’s Soundscapes taking, with the aid of The Refractor Piano™ music to new contemporary frontiers.
|Artists||Peter Manning Robinson|