Morten Qvenild – Personal Piano

personal piano(Hubro)

Well, we wouldn’t expect a conventional solo piano album from the musician who is one third of In The Country, half of sPace Monkey and the complete Magical Orchestra, would we? Morten Qvenild has a personal sound on whatever keyboard he happens to be playing to rival such individualists as Django Bates and Joe Zawinul, and he doesn’t disappoint with his “HyPer(sonal) Piano” – integrating a variety of electronic devices with the grand piano. The only additions are some vocals and programming.

Turning Returning is the opener and introduces us immediately to a strikingly processed sound, the piano notes twanged, buzzing and becoming as percussive as claves. A vocal addition towards the end as a hooky coda further draws the listener in.

All the music is by Qvenild with one exception, Calvin Harris’s We Found Love, which has a highly processed harmony vocal over piano tweaked and overlaid to produce a whole, bass-heavy band. In an enlightened world it would be a top ten hit.

Past feels like a hymn but it will take many listens before the lyrics become fully comprehended – the song is broken by a solo of masterful creaking and clunking, rattling and clicking; Hilma has a dramatic slow build on a fairly simple piano motif with accompanying washes and buzzes; Blown Away is more spacious, relying on combinations of sounds dropped as if into a pool, then waiting for the ripples to break; and Wild Horses is another ballad with a high, circling melody winding around Qvenild’s low, sighing vocal, the song’s simplicity decorated with a baroque overlay of sonic strangeness.

Morten Qvenild is not only a hugely creative and adventurous musician with some of the greatest ears around, he also does slow better than most. The man is a treasure.

Categories: CD review

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