Moderna Records specialise in music you’ll whimsically relax and feel with warm and fuzzy with or burst into tears – depending on your mood. They have picked eight of their artists to showcase their piano skills for piano day 2018 and it’s a wonderful collection for discovering new composers to enjoy, or just to set your mood.
Daigo Hanada’s “Futari” opens the album with a minimalistic but cute theme that reminds me of RPG themes of female lead characters of old. Its production means you can really hear the inner workings of the piano so each hammer and creak is present. Ed Carlsen’s “Bliss” is equally as explicit with its creaks and moans but this understated piece channels bliss in a more pensive gearing up manner with a simple arpeggio run and chord progression that’s joined with a lovely cello accompaniment. James Maloney’s “Thirds” is an exercise in thirds and the prepared piano tinkles like gentle raindrops as the muted keys barely make a sound. You can hear more of the key presses and the gentle birdsong underneath sometimes. Initially, this track passed me by – but listen in headphones and there’s a world of sound to discover.
Jacob David’s “Loft” is more immediately melodic and reflective as its slowly rouses itself on achingly beautiful piano loops and strings. Snorri Hallgrimsson “og minning þín rís hægt” brings a pensive moment in time like a ticking clock as the track focuses on a single note and gentle flourishes around it before Manos Milonakis goes cinematic and film noir with the amazing “Margarette”. It’s creepy, enticing and like a music box that wants to stab you. Keeping the feeling more historic is Sten Erland Hermundstad’s “Sommerfugl” which is a short bittersweet piece that has a certain German quality to it in that the reverb pedal is firmly off and things sound a bit icy. The flipside is closer “Nocturne 2” from Sebastian Moraweitz which is gentle and warm like the ballad of the night.
While all tracks are decidedly minimalistic and reflective, they make for a luxurious introduction to some of the best pianists out there in the indie composer scene today. Long live the piano.
Recommended track: Margarette