Piano Piano

BB 067CD BB 067CD

Bureau B reissues Piano Piano by German keyboardist Hans-Joachim Roedelius, originally released in 1991 on the Italian label Materiali Sonori. In classical music, "pp" (piano piano = pianissimo) is a dynamic indication of particularly soft music. And Piano Piano is a very soft, quiet album. Roedelius assumes the role of a fairytale character with his piano music, transported to a strange, fantastical landscape where, filled with awe and amazement, he tries to get his bearings. What he sees, feels and senses here is not always of this world. Many impressions come from the dark within, others from who knows where. Roedelius strikes a hesitant figure in these realms, cautiously, delicately exploring his immediate and distant environs, much like a child transfixed by astonishment. And yet Piano Piano is anything but child-like. Initial comparisons were drawn between the piano music of Roedelius and that of Eric Satie. This was no more accurate than the erroneous "ambient" label pinned to his material. Satie's compositions were based on rigid formalism -- Roedelius strives to free himself from the restrictive corset of form, while "ambient" belies the careful listening which is required to appreciate his to the full. Nor does Piano Piano sit halfway between Satie and ambient, instead tracing Roedelius' own stylistic path into musical territory which he alone can reveal to us, the listeners. All we have to do is follow him. His music is quiet and focused, but to call it contemplative or even meditative would also be wide of the mark: not all music which draws us out of ourselves is accompanied by spiritual pomp, as the fewest fairytales whisper of eternity or the afterlife. Beauty and profoundness belong to this world, like Roedelius himself. What he has to tell us is indeed whimsical and, at times, wonderful. His ability to awaken images and dreams in us is nothing short of miraculous. Roedelius offers us a little book of fairytales with Piano Piano and, as the old chestnut would have it, every fairytale contains a generous portion of reality. Includes three bonus tracks (CD-only) and liner notes by Asmus Tietchens.