[18 April 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
A chance encounter between guitarist Diego Barber and pianist Craig Taborn has set off something special. As far as duet albums go, Tales is one that slips through every genre crack provided by nylon strings and a piano. Opener “Killian’s Mountains”, at 27:32, makes up over 40% of Tales. The very idea that this song hits the proverbial ground running is just as bewildering as Barber’s unorthodox approach to his instrument. Of course, “Killian’s Mountains” doesn’t stay that way.
The metamorphoses in Tales are frequent and natural. As a listener, you get a little bit of it all—the digitally manipulated guitar (I think) at the start of “Cipres”, the prepared piano of the ever-searching “Eternal 7” and the rich lyricism that stretches clear over all the other points in between. Tales is for the patient listener, one who understands that the musical payoff isn’t always in the arrival of an “a-ha” melody.