Kevin Kerrigan – “You”
-One of the things I love about instrumental music is that we don’t know who motivated a piece or what its purpose really is. From the title “You” we might hypothesize that it’s about a lover, but it could be about anyone really. Who does this thoughtful neoclassical piano piece make you think of? I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it makes me think of old friends. It conjures images of cousins, moments at my grandma’s house, and the turning of the season from winter to spring. It’s beautiful.
William Ogmundson – “Closing time blues”
-To give an indication of how much I like this track, I sent it to my dad because I knew he’d love it. Growing up in a musical family, you can’t help but have tracks that resonate with you and remind you of the people you love. This one did that for me; I’ve heard my dad play “boogie woogie” and improv blues tunes on the piano for years. Ogmundson’s playing is charming, engaging, and maybe me have some beautifully loving vibes toward my family. I can’t put into words, really, what that means to me. I’ll revisit this one often over the years, I’m sure. It’s a gift.
Heron – “Splashdown”
-The official genre descriptor on this track is post rock, but if it was up to me to label it I would call it instrumental bliss. The blending of sounds here is remarkable. There’s a featured voice in the electric guitar, but the layers of electronic sounds in the background feels positively massive. It’s like looking out from a mountain at everything you can see below. I didn’t know that music could give such soaring perspective, but Heron have accomplished that here.
Tristan Eckerson – “For Natalia”
-Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Do you feel that in your spirit? That calming? That’s what Eckerson’s writing does for me, too. It’s so soothing and engaging. I don’t know anything about who Natalia is or why she inspired this music, but the hypnotic left hand on this piece allows the meandering melody on the right to evoke deep, personal emotions. I think this will mean something different to everyone and for me it is gently evocative.
Nay Shalom – “Ladder to the Sky”
-There’s probably a musical term for the way that piano players roll notes into one another, but I don’t know it. So I’ll just say the way that this melody rolls together is absolutely stunning. There’s a nice easy dynamic in the opening of the track, but Shalom builds from that point into an engaging piece. I can’t help but picture using this track as a soundtrack to a short film. I can imagine some powerful emotional moments happening to this beautiful composition. This is what neoclassical instrumental music is all about for me. I am motivated and relaxed all in one movement.