Sumptuous soft piano clouds.
Marta Cascales Alimbau is a lady who knows exactly how to differentiate her pianos. She recorded ‘Anoche’, her first full release, across three different pianos to create a welcoming and intimate feel. Mixing an element of curiosity into her compositions alongside the softest piano mallets I’ve heard in a while, ‘Anoche’ is a dreamy delight.
Marta wrote the songs late at night or in the early hours of the morning. With ‘Anoche’ meaning ‘last night’, the whole mood is one of contemplation that can blend with the quiet of darkness. The delicate approach to her piano playing means that Marta can be speedy, intricate, sparse or minimalist and it all comes together in a neat package. After a snake-like interpretation of ‘Lágrimas Negras’ (a 1929 Cuban piece), Marta goes it alone with six beautiful compositions. The speed and poise of ‘Vuevlo’ is utterly stunning as the piano pitter-patters up and down various chords and notes. It works as a beautiful sister track to ‘Vuelo’ which serenades you as a flying bird. The track feels epic and soaring and then it reaches a dissonance for a couple of seconds as if you have a moment of struggle or peril. It is perfectly judged and keeps you completely on your toes.
The centrepiece of the album is ‘Albura’. This is a six-minute swirl of notes that percolate the mind in an ever-increasing frenzy and intensity. It is the only time that Marta Cascales Alimbau breaks cover and runs with the drama on the album and it has a lovely story behind it. Marta was inspired by a story called Los limpiadores de estrellas (The Star Washers) where darkness doesn’t exist. In the bright light of day, the sheer scale of life feels big and bold. So does Marta’s playing. Either side of these tracks lay the quiet moments. ‘Contigo’ and ‘Noche’ both lean into beautiful minimalist performances that refuse to veer into the meditative or boredom state. Closer ‘Anoche’ is a delightfully skippy number with a bounce in its step that ends the album on a warm high. It also showcases, like ‘Vuelo’ and ‘Vuevlo’, that Alimbau can create an intoxicating melody with ease.
It takes a certain type of composer to create a magical relaxing piano album that can hold its own and not fade into the background as just pure relaxation noise. Marta Cascales Alimbau has managed just that with ‘Anoche’. It is a delicate sensory experience because of the intimate way it has been recorded and the melodies are ones that stick in the mind. A hidden gem in the piano genre.
Recommended track: Vuelo
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