Spacious piano thoughts that feel vintage and wholesome.
Brian Crosby has enjoyed creating all kinds of music over the years. From Bell X1 to working with Jóhann Jóhannsson to setting up recording artist communities and studios in Dublin, it’s been a wild ride. In all of that Brian Crosby hasn’t put out an album that is purely under his own name until now though. ‘Imbrium’ – which you could refer to as a moon crater – is a deeply intimate and rustic piano album. All those years of band craft and film scoring shine through.
The whole album is recorded up close and personal. From the hammers of the piano to the velvet ribbon to the wire twang inside – you can hear it all. Brian recorded the pieces on a restored 1920’s August Förster piano and that vintage warmth glows throughout. It also supports each piece on the album too because they often balance something soothing against a glorious mystery too.
Tracks like ‘In The Blue Shadows’ have a simple outline but enjoy a Bowie-like minor chord pattern to give it a majestic vibe. Few of the tracks have pace to them and when they do, it is fleeting. Instead, the album keeps itself melodic but curious. ‘The Front Bench’ has a pretty melody but the piano is slightly detuned as if it has had a bit of a battering. It is a small nuance but one that turns a tune of melancholy into cautious optimism. ‘Moon Child’ plays with a huge reverb that makes each key feel weighted like a star twinkle. I’m sure you can hear Brian’s fingers slide across the keys too. The guys of the piano play a lead role for ‘Stirring the Dust’ which is a bluesy wild western piece. It feels percussive at times and perfect for a lonely cowboy bar moment. Elsewhere the relaxing meditative shower of notes in ‘Trails’ is uplifting and cathartic whilst my favourite piece ‘A Strong Tide of Liberty’ evokes Hania Rani and Agnes Obel vibes.
Agnes Obel is probably my best pointer for Brian Crosby’s album. If you enjoy her intensely European flair for rigid and melodic neoclassical piano – you’ll likely enjoy Brian Crosby too. Whilst I’d have liked a few of the tracks to have been a little longer, what is here is lovely. It is a great album to pull out for a full moon and watch in wonder whilst ‘Imbrium’ gives a subtle majestic undertone in the background.
Recommended track: A Strong Tide of Liberty
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