Kai Engel: Rain Catcher

Kai Engel takes a step back from the big canvas to offer up piano sketches. All is still well with neoclassical.
Kai Engel
Rain Catcher
Southern City's Lab

Russian composer Kai Engel’s discography is full of cinematically inclined classical works periodically bolstered by a trip-hop undercurrent. Rain Catcher, on the other hand, is pretty quiet. All nine pieces are performed on the piano with only two of them featuring another instrument. And just like most of Engel’s other collections, it’s over very quickly (24 minutes).

Kai Engel seems to have a knack for spinning out a comfortingly identifiable set of melodies from an acoustic piano — so much so that it’s a small wonder he hasn’t done more recorded work in this area before. He seems to have a soft penchant for waltz time, giving “Bells in Heavy Clouds”, “Fading Rays’ Waltz” and “Twinkling Stars Won’t Answer Me” easy figures that seem to sigh right from the keys. “A Note is My Gift” features long-sustained notes on the cello (I think) and “Back to Lighted Streets” is accompanied by skittering percussion. These aren’t really the sore thumbs they sound like and Kai Engel is the gifted composer he sounds like.

RATING 7 / 10