Marcel Zidani (who will be known to some readers as the author of Hey Presto! which I spoke to him about in this interview) has been busy collating a playlist of some of the best piano music on SoundCloud, and I’m delighted that he has invited me to share it with you in this Sunday Sounds special feature!
Marcel invited ten pianists active on SoundCloud to submit one solo piano piece, plus a second track which could contain other instrumentation (although most musicians submitted two solo piano pieces).
From the virtuoso to the intimate, from bluesy licks to gorgeous neo-classical melodies and intense experimental outbursts – this is a playlist which really has it all.
My recommendation – bookmark this page so that you can return and listen again and again, because this compilation makes a great album to live with and enjoy.
And if you enjoy what you hear, please also pop over to the SoundCloud site, set up a free account if you don’t have one, and follow these artists there.
I’ve been enjoying the music of Düsseldorf-based German musician Tom Blankenberg for a few years now, since 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, and it is also available on major streaming platforms or to purchase on CD or vinyl. Enjoy!