Plays Piano

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Oct 11, 2011

Through work with Cluster, Harmonia and Brian Eno, there's no question that Hans-Joachim Roedelius is considered an electronic artist. But dig deeper into his solo catalogue and you'll find there's a deep love for classical music as well – something that the newly unearthed Plays Piano beautifully demonstrates. Recorded in 1985 at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, with both Eno and the Edge in attendance, the live album is only now being released, and it's about time. The concert recording is downright pristine, featuring zero audience sound and 21 vignettes that find the composer refitting his electronic works for solo piano. With each song delicately flowing from one to the next, there's hardly any downtime in the performance, and in many ways, it comes across as one continuous 60-minute piece, even when Roedelius suddenly goes into a chill-inducing rendition of Eno's "By This River." Plays Piano may be simple in approach, but it easily stands as one of Roedelius's most moving and meditative works. The only shame is that we had to wait 26 years for its release.
(Bureau B)

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