Lubomyr Melnyk is renowned as one of the fastest-playing pianists in the world, and he has long been honing his self-developed style of ‘Continuous Music’ in order to channel these powers. Rivers and Streams is his latest album, containing flowing torrents of notes that creates an overwhelming wall of melodies. On Erased Tapes: coloured vinyl available!
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Lubomyr Melnyk has long been treating us to his caffeinated neo-classical, using his continuous playing approach to piano as a means of just pressing on. For many of us, the Youtube video of him playing seventeen notes in one second is probably enough; delve deeper, though, and he offers compositions that change in real time, his structure of melody generating scenery as if it only comes to life as you walk into it.
On ‘Rivers and Streams’, Melnyk takes striking aquatic images and interprets them into piano pieces that echo their movements: ripples of a waterfall are suggested on “Parasol”, on which rapid melodies collide, weaving in and out of separate tempos -- I’m assuming Melnyk has a sense of humour about him, considering that he closes this breathless thirteen minute downpour with a striking cadence.
Where the feat of playing really fucking fast and really fucking technically has taken precedence over much of Melynk’s previous work, it’s clear to see how emotive he can be in -- and often out -- of his framework, whether in the slowed ballad “Pool of Memories” (in which he often grinds to a halt before trundling down the piano), or the gorgeous “Ripples In A Water Scene”, where he’s accompanied by Jamie Perera’s lilting, ever-so-delicately picked guitar. There’s a suppressed energy in these pieces that recalls Hauschka’s ‘Abandoned City’, and a masterful tragic sound that echoes through the tradition as many contemporary classicists as you can count.
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- Rivers and Streams by Lubomyr Melnyk
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