Pianist Elias Stemeseder, Austrian-born and New York-based since 2015, is readyin 2022to release his first album under his own name. Piano Solo is something he might not have taken on. He considers himself still a student. If not for the encouragement of Intakt Records' Florian Keller, this album may not have happened. The pianist has contributed, most notably profile-wise, with his work in drummer Jim Black's trio and his playing with reedist Anna Webber and Philipp Gropper, and percussionist Christian Lillinger.
Stemeseder put his diffidence aside in June, 2021, entering the studio with a bunch of frameworks for improvisation. The results reveal an artist with a sprawling imagination taking on an array of conceptual constructs and creating a cohesive sound over the course of fifteen concise tunes. And diffident or not, he has crafted a bold music, agitated. fierce, thoughtful, searching, teetering on an introvert/extrovert tightrope.
And his music has passion. He sounds as if he is spearing small, agile fish with his rapid fire piano notes on "Foeggslia'l" before tapering the intensity down into a sweet, inward reverie. At nearly seven minutes, this is the longest piece on the set. Here, and elsewhere, Stemeseder uses repetition nicely, weaving in the ominous and molding unsettled segments of sound with serenity and pure beauty.
With solo piano, what we getwhen the endeavor is successfulis a revelation of the artist's heart, mind and soul. It happens here. A few spins of Piano Solo says that Stemeseder is a wonderful combination of fragility, drive, and unwavering tensile strength and talent, brimming with a sense of wide-eyed and fearless adventure.
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