Published Jun 26, 2018Improvisation is perhaps the purest expression of an artist's instincts. Absent any post-production, amendment or embellishment, the risk is that the result will be self-indulgent. On Strands: Solo Piano Improvisations, however, John Kameel Farah manages to create a collection of tunes that are immediately relatable.
On "Mal Sehen," the lower keys set a moody, brooding tone, while the higher ones are given more freedom to explore and morph. We are intrigued by the glimpses into the unknown, but remain grounded; we are observers, not explorers. In "Wind Formations" the notes are in a never-ending manic flow, bewildering at first, until a certain familiarity sets in. We've seen this before, how wild acts so crazy and unpredictably.
If Farah's instincts were to indulge only in his wildest flights of imagination, then this record probably would be unrelatable. What he does, however, is remain the human observer (like us) trying the understand the mysteries around us, not get lost in them. So, rather than being one of those cringe-worthy improvs that no one can understand, the nine tracks on Strands: Solo Piano Improvisations are an enjoyable shared experience. (Neue Meister)