Swedish pianist Christian Lindquist has found his niche in creating soothing, quiet melodies neatly packaged into two and a half minute ditties. He has found such enjoyment and positive feedback from his work thus far that Solo Piano Diary III is, as the title suggests, the third full-length album of Lindquist’s tranquil sunrise compositions.
While there are some melodies that do stand out on their own, after the first ten pieces on the album they do tend to meld together into one serene rumination that would be most enjoyable to fall asleep to or receive a spa treatment.
Solo Piano Diary III begins with “Coming Back.” Immediately it is evident that Lindquist himself is very relaxed at the keyboard. He has an excellent rubatto feel that keeps the piece flowing and interesting despite its repetitiveness. The subtle modulations draw the listener in and Lindquist’s delicate keystrokes are inviting. Many of the songs however are not as clearly structured and exist in a more stream of conscious mindset. “Still Here” falls into this category with no defined structure or melody and an unresolved ending, while “I Need to Sleep” is more minimalistic. There are large pauses between brief statements making the song less thought-provoking.
Some of Lindquist’s incidental music does portray a vague sense of emotion that could be relatable to a broad spectrum.
The graceful grace notes and rubatto give character to “You Are Safe”. The same sense of niceness is felt in “No Clue” which would make appropriate background music for a romantic comedy. Similarly “I Am OK” is quietly optimistic and “I Am Free” is graciously uplifting.
“Walk With Me” has an amusing coy beginning while “Always” is a loving song of devotion with its lovely ebbing and flowing swells. A comforting warm embrace is felt in “At Home.” The titles to these short vignettes are also fitting and hint at what Lindquist may have had on his mind when he released his fingers onto the keyboard each morning.
The defined stanzas in “Psalm” are structured like a traditional hymn. Lindquist displays excellent control with the repetitive falling eighth and grace notes in “Slow Down.” A nice variety of pieces are found on the album from the free form to more defined. Many different musical tangents are heard in the contemplative “A Good Day” and Lindquist deftly weaves them all together to culminate in a satisfying ending. The song that is the most transformative is “Be There.” It opens with soft, deliberate chords ensconced in sustain. Slowly the tune unfolds like a soft mist that gradually turns into a sprinkle followed by larger drops and ultimately a rainstorm.
Solo Piano Diary III is not the most intelligent music but it is enjoyable and thankfully not too outlandish as some newer piano compositions have become. For a pleasant, soothing musical escape Lindquist delivers with his poignant sunrise meditations.
Artist: Christian Lindquist
Album Title: Solo Piano Diary III (independent)
Reviewers Name: Kelly O’Neil (http://www.reviewyou.com/kelly-oneil/)
Rating: 4 stars
Solo Piano Diary 3
2013 / CHL Production
Solo Piano Diary 3 is the third volume in a series of solo piano improvisations by Swedish pianist/composer Christian Lindquist. The first two Diaries were released in 2008 and 2010, and, like those two gems, the twenty-three tracks on #3 appear in chronological order, starting on 11/10/12 and ending with 3/28/13. The other two albums’ tracks were titled only with the dates they were conceived, but this one actually has song titles. The series was created as a means for Lindquist to seek truth from his own heart as well as an outlet for self-expression, and these wonderful pieces are in their purest and most sincere form, unedited and in the moment. Strong classical influences can be heard as well as jazz, new age, and even a little gospel. The moods are consistent enough to provide a subtle backdrop for other quiet activities, but I highly recommend giving this album your full attention at least a few times, as it’s too beautiful to not savor in its entirety. I will reuse my own quote from the previous two Diary reviews and re-state that “This is music to get lost in, hoping never to be found again!” as it is just as fitting for this collection.
There are too many tracks to mention each one, but I have to say that there is no filler or fluff and all of the pieces are reflective and spare. The beginning piece, dated 11/10/12 and titled “Coming Back,” is a lovely intro, setting a quiet, peaceful tone for the album. “I Need to Sleep” has the feeling of late-night musings at the piano - minimal and soft-spoken. As would be expected from the title, “My Gospel” has a very hymn-like style which is mostly quiet with a few gospel phrases in the middle that present a pleasant surprise. “Be There” is subtle and very graceful with lots of open space, giving the music plenty of breathing room. “So Happy” conveys a deep sense of contentment rather than a giddy joy. “Always” expresses a tender passion that makes it a favorite. “Walk With Me” is warm and peaceful while “Farewell” is more conversational and bittersweet. “My Island” closes the album with a soft-spoken tribute to a special place.
If you are new to Christian Lindquist’s Solo Piano Diary series, this is a great place to start for soothing, relaxing piano music with substance. If you have the first two in the series, #3 is a perfect finish to the set. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!