French pianist Romain Collin's third release as a leader, Press Enter, can easily serve as a soundtrack for an art house flick. This is very natural for Collin who has both written music for several films and proved himself an accomplished performer. Collin uses intricately constructed harmonic fragments to build captivating sonic mosaics thus most of the originals on this disc are densely textured and cinematic.
The thrilling "Webs" has an expectant ambience that drummer Kendrick Scott and his percolating beats help build. Collin's chiming keys punctuate adding to the atmospheric mood. Thrilling melodic phrases resonate and change tempo as the group play builds to passionate climax of roaring thunder. The piece then becomes mellower and softer yet retaining its ardency and simultaneously adding a contemplative edge. Collin's notes cascade emotively with a hint of angularity as Scott's kit rolls and bassist Luques Curtis lets his strings reverberate with a deep lyricism.
The ensemble paints a serene and nostalgic picture on the impressionistic "San Louis Obispo." Collin's mellifluous lines meld with the sound effect of humming voices and create a pastoral scene. Scott's shimmering cymbals are evocative of the sound of crashing waves.
Equally mesmerizing is the dramatic "Raw, Scorched and Untethered." The band's hypnotic refrains result in a dense and heady aura. The main theme that Collin plays rushes forward with elegance. Scott and Curtis rumble restlessly along the melodic track. Occasionally Scott's booming drums burst through to the surface. Collin's expressiveness grows in intensity as Curtis adds darkly incandescent tones to this intriguing tune.
This charming album closes with Collin's unaccompanied deconstruction of "Round About Midnight." The wistful solo interprets this standard in a pensive mode and in an unhurried tempo. Collin gets to the elemental core of pianist Thelonious Monk's composition and lovingly and with deference puts it back together with crystalline clarity tinged with melancholy.
Collin's debut on the ACT label is a captivating work that highlights the leader's adroitness both with the piano and the pen. Although short on spontaneity the record is quite musically piquant with an enthralling beauty that will indubitably satisfy even the most cultivated of ears.
Track Listing: 99; Clockwork; Raw, Scorched and Untethered; Holocene; The Kids; Webs; San Luis Obispo; Event Horizon; The Line (Dividing Good and Evil Cuts Through the Heart of Every Human Being); Round About Midnight.
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