How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This remarkable Belgian pianist has produced two new releases issued on separate labels: “Passing Waves” (see AAJ review Jan. 1998) on NUSCOPE records and this 2 CD “live” set titled “Flux” on Potlatch records. On Disk 1, Van Hove performs a piece called “Derive” which clocks in at 52 minutes. Once again Van Hove performs solo piano and the results are mind-boggling as one would expect. Van Hove utilizes huge muscular block chords to develop extremely complex phrasing while evolving into dialogues with left and right hand as if there were two pianists performing concurrently. Here, Van Hove’s methodical approach is exquisite and consuming. Ideas are executed in what seems like milliseconds and his ability to implement at such a rapid pace without losing momentum is breath taking. Vivid imagery prevails while Van Hove keeps the listener on edge with a sparkling sense of drama combined with lightning fast movement and endless execution of fresh ideas. On Disk 2 his lengthy piece titled “Ruwe Ruimte” follows suit with blazing hand speed and massive crescendos emphasized by his fist periodically slamming the piano for rhythmic accent. Van Hove is not without a sense of humor and wit. His phrasing at times appears to be frisky and jovial. “Ruwe Ruimte” takes on a percussive feel while Van Hove pursues several diverse avenues in almost simultaneous fashion. Throughout this recording Van Hove’s imagination appears to be in turbo mode as if he were possessed by spirits or in a deep trance. Fred Van Hove is a modern day master of free-improvised music. “Flux” is yet another Van Hove masterpiece that should be deemed required listening for advocates of modern music and students of the piano. Highly Recommended.