Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Of The Year (Slight Return)

A non-military example of the Rumsfeldian unknown unknown: when I closed the books on 2016, one record was missing. I hadn't forgotten it. I didn't have an eleventh-hour change of heart. I simply has no idea it was even a thing.

So it is my duty to add to the previously published list another category: Best record released in 2016 that I didn't know existed until 2017.

By stealth, in silence, and under a smokescreen of teasing announcements for a new album by The Necks (10 February, apparently), Chris Abrahams dropped his first album purely of solo piano recordings since "Streaming", in 2003. It's almost as if he didn't want anybody to notice. If so, he succeeded. I found it by accident on Apple Music a couple of days ago (while trying to find out when the Necks album was coming out, as it happens). Heck, as we sit here now it's not even on Discogs.

I had the unalloyed pleasure of being at a Necks concert in Canberra a couple of years ago where one of the sets commenced with Abrahams, alone at the piano, thoughtful and pensive at first, but building into all kinds of runs, clusters of notes, and unexpected melodies, the sustain pedal his new best friend; the entire set was under his quiet command, but those first few minutes were priceless.

This album is like listening to seven variations on that same theme. It is worth your time.