Adrian Klumpes - Be Still (CD Leaf Label)
The debut solo album by the member of Australian improv outfit Triosk marks a startling baring of the soul.
The instrumental album of simple, doleful, piano lines woven through a fabric of melodic glitch that encompasses the world of Leafcutter John and Sanso Xtro forms a reflective stillness. It shimmers in the light, with the reversed snips skittering by like sharp glints of sunlight that blind. That glorious spark of pain when you look at something too beautiful to comprehend.
It's appropriate that an album that comes together so intricately and beautifully should have been recorded within a five hour session. As the piano notes are left to decay, as in 'Be Still', it can be taken as a complete piece in itself but more interestingly it feels more like a glimpse of an ongoing piece; as does the whole album. Like walking through a forest, you can't take it all in. Where are you in this world?
Adrian's piano playing has simple refrains. Repeated, and repeated once more with an addition or a subtraction. It's this clarity that lends a sense of grace to the album. A thread of contemplation and dwelling runs through it. Is there a resolution to it all? I'm not so sure. How can humanity, experience and awareness have a resolution? By working through these collective thoughts by the use of sound Adrian succeeds only in underlining the extraordinary complexity of these simple emotions. Rather than define them, he has accepted them for what they are - the very meaning of being.
The grit that forms the pearl is 'Why', a brief track which unsettles in its deeper tones, questioning the delight and wonder of the tracks that surround it. A balance and an unbalance, it causes confusion and fear; a wariness to form perspective and contrast.
Adrian stated “I wanted to capture three moments. Creation, performance and process. And each of these with a certain stillness.” Point taken but I question the use of the word 'captured'. Like grabbing at sunlight, he's succeeded in feeling its warmth.
Sadly the cd didn't come with the covers but apparently the artwork by Clemens Habicht is worth seeing. HM