Pianist/composer Adam Berenson is a mystery; his Facebook page features nothing about his music-making and, in its photo section, a couple of Jackson Pollock-like abstract paintings along with a Van Gogh-inspired seascape. The song titles on his numerous releases perpetuate the mystery"Sepulchral Vicissitudes" and "Emotional Idiot," from Contextual (1999),and the title track to The Mystery of the Vanishing Chandelier (2001)including the title at hand, A Codex of Silent Voices, suggesting Berenson is an artist going deep.
Maybe? Maybe not. Berenson cites influences as divergent as composer György Ligeti and Wolfgang Rihm, alongside pianist Keith Jarrett and Coldplay. So what does his music sound like? Nocturnal, sepulchral, spare, spacious, surreal and cathedral-resonant.
Berenson teams with Bill Marconi for this series of nineteen soundscapes, constructed of mostly electronically-processed percussion woven in with delicate piano threads. It is by turns hypnotic ("Interstices"), eerie and haunting ("Transpersonal"), fragile and pensively pretty ("through this stillness"), or something akin to a soundtrack to the approach of a potential cataclysm ("Truth Lives").
The listening experience of this "codex" (defined as a manuscript book, especially of Scripture, classics or ancient annals) is an introspective one; outside of time, it seems as if it might be full of diaphanous truths that are never quite revealed.
Track Listing: Transpersonal; through this stillness; comfort of oblivion; ...a study in...; Don't Destroy Love; Invisible Threads; Anamorphosis; Be My Mirror; The Everlasting; The Thing; It Is Possible; The Other; Scherzo;
I Don't Know Where I'm Going; Grief Fills the Room Up; Interstices; written on air; Yasujiro Ozu; Truth Lives.
Personnel: Adam Berenson: piano, percussion, electronically processed percussion; Bill Marconi; electronically processed percussion.
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