Phoenix music editor Oison Lunny on Pablo Nouvelle’s Piano Pieces.
The renaissance of solo piano recordings has been one of my favourite music trends of the past 15 years.
My interest was initially sparked by a flamboyant yet finely nuanced performance by Chilly Gonzales, opening up for Feist at ULU in London to promote his 2004 album Solo Piano.
Subsequent musical gems kept appearing: Aphex Twin, Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Luke Slott’s Don’t Go Back to Sleep, and, more recently, albums by James Heather, Alexandra Stréliski and Joep Beving.
A certain purity and sincerity of performance are demanded by the solo piano format. When the artist gets it right, there is a unique emotional connection. Nouvelle’s self-released LP Piano Pieces, out now, exemplifies this timeless transcendence well.
Nouvelle’s works are innovative in terms of physically manipulating the instrument and using effects, but his compositions exist in the context of a richly populated sonic heritage stretching back many centuries.
From the serenity of Zaouiat Ahansal to the widescreen intimacy of Tizi N’tacheddirt, Piano Pieces is absolutely worth 24 minutes of your attention.