I’ve been enjoying the music of Düsseldorf-based German musician Tom Blankenberg since a few years ago, when he first joined the Soundcloud community for pianists which I was running at the time. And in the intervening years it has been a thrill to see his music develop, to hear that he was touring, and now that his debut album is recorded and released.
“Atermus” offers an accomplished and rounded set of reflective piano works, all superbly recorded (which is perhaps not surprising given Tom’s background as a sound designer and film editor who also records for media and advertising) and released on the Less Records label.
Talking about his piano music, which belongs to the new “neoclassical” or minimal stream, Tom says:
“I tend to call them Short Stories or Polaroids or sometimes even Calendar Sheets.”
A wonderful description, but see what you think for yourself. For me, this is one of the best contemplative and reflective piano albums I’ve heard – I love it!
I hope you will agree that from the experimental harmonies of opening track Tori and through 13 successive moments of musical beauty, concluding with the lusciously melodic November and warmly intimate Nesuto, this is a stunning album!
By the way, in case you were wondering, Tom tells me that the striking title ‘Atermus’ is just a meaningless word which occurred to him while recording:
“I like nonsense titles more that too discriptive ones…”
The album was recorded at Van Heys Studio, Kleve, and in Düsseldorf between November 2017-April 2018, and brings together pieces composed mostly between 2012 and 2018 (together with one earlier piece dating from 1987).
The cover art, incidentally, is a reproduction of a work by Hiroshi Kjawano.
You can listen to the full album below, stream on Apple Music or Spotify, and it is also available to purchase on CD or vinyl. Enjoy!