Adrian Klumpes sounds entirely European on his debut solo release, Be Still, but he’s from Sydney, and plays piano for the jazz/electronica trio Triosk. It’s hard to imagine this restive, complex minimalism emerging from under Sydney’s harsh sun, harder still to believe it was recorded in single five-hour session. Influenced both by avant-electronica, minimal artists like Marc Leclair and Thomas Stronen and contemporary jazz, Klumpes’s music is deceptive: beneath its serene exterior is a churning alarm at the chaos of the world, reflected in perpetually repeating piano lines and occasionally clattering effects. The best tracks are beautiful (“Weave In and Out” layers unhurried sparkles of sound into a subtly changing/repeating texture that’s timeless but compelling at the same time), or really scary (“Alone” could be the soundtrack to one of those movies that scares because it’s unnervingly close to home, with splashes of effect shrouding a disjointed triangle melody). But it takes patience to concentrate through nine minutes of seemingly directionless piano jitter, which is what Klumpes subjects us to on “Unrest”. If the payoff is mood, we got it already. Still, there’s real complexity in these understated compositions, and in general, they’re worth the investment required.
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// Notes from the Road
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