Mixing serendipitous live sound and the physical intonations of his instruments with conventional neo-classical piano, M. Ostermeier makes records in the avant-garde fashion but after emotive, often cinematic affectations. Still uses electronics minimally, usually to process and realise his organically made music. As gorgeous as you'd expect, ye fans of John Cage and Max Richter.

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Still by M. Ostermeier
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9/10 Laurie 19 March 2015

As I come to review a record full of minimal piano, the office idiots are blasting some screamo shite, forcing me to really crank an album titled Still. It’s days like these that Ian deserves a slap, and that pseudohuman Robin too. We’ll be witnessing the birth of Homo Slap-Ians, right here at Norman Towers.

But yes, the album. Hailing from the US, M. Ostermeier’s latest output is a truly sombre affair that don’t need no distorted guitars or mad tempos to make just as towering a statement. If anything, its power is amplified by the contrast in the noisy environment in which I currently sit. It moves slower than a melodic John Cage piano excursion, cautiously murmuring chords only when necessary. Think of it as that moment that you’ve got home from work, paid all your bills, made a cup of tea, exhausted all of the cliches and slapped Ian, which leaves ‘stasis’ as the only option left. Pure, innocent chill.

The piano isn’t alone, as becomes apparent with the weird high pitched crackle painting its thin wooden texture over the first few tracks. ‘Counterpoise’ sets itself up as a virtual echo chamber in which every X number of chords is catapulted between the left and right ears, then joined by the same whirring click. It’s a record that from these few considered elements can build a sound world that instantly displaces you from your environment. Hardcore? What hardcore? Oh, I forgot that chair was there. So if Wil Bolton’s piano work is a little too lush for your solace, then you need to sit Still.


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