Review Summary: It’s with such grace and fragility that Streliski creates a landmark, and at that, one that should not be permitted to go unnoticed.
The fact that emotion is the basest characteristic of human beings naturally leads to us wanting to find it tucked into the world around us, making its appearance to prove to us that the world isn’t just a piling heap of mathematical formulas and infallible equations. The sense of wonder that emotion provides is alluring, simply because of how its rather unpredictable nature. It also affects our character as a whole, leaving us unable to answer appropriately why certain movies make us cry, or why Sigur Rós leaves us teary-eyed, for instance. And while it is true that emotion is perhaps what initiates music to be created, oftentimes other attributes of life are emphasized, and this too can be beautiful.
If one considers, also, the fact that the piano is a staggeringly emotional instrument, capable of expressing multitudes of sentiment, then it would not be silly to assume that an album containing only piano holds the potential to be the most expressive music. I remember the days of my youth, spending delightful Christmas evenings with my family, while my brother plays cheerful ragtime songs that were staples of my childhood. It is an instrument that reminds many of us of important moments of our lives, and so by utilizing the piano as a newfound voice Alexandra Strelinski has produced one of the most apt expressions of life, and undoubtedly this will ring true for many, if they are given the opportunity to notice.
There’s something unequivocally special regarding PIANOSCOPE, Alexandra Streliski’s first foray into the realm of classical music, in that it is perhaps the most emotional album I’ve personally heard in a long time, so intensely personal that it gripped me immediately upon the first listen. So easily was I able to draw the parallels between the passions of the album and that of my own, of my struggles as well as my prevailing successes in my life when only listening to the album for the first time. From a technical standpoint it places much more of a focus on the melodies and song structures than sophisticated classical wizardry that’s difficult to relate to, and this serves the album much more strongly in the long run. The melodies and chord structures that have likely been somewhat done before are presented as a fresh, new product because of the way that Strelinski composes off of what she feels, not what she thinks. This quality leads to the album being very powerful all-around, being a hard one to not pay special attention to all the way though, and it’s refreshing to come across an album where this is the case.
It’s not quite possible to bring to attention certain songs on the release, to mention landmarks for Streliski, in that every song has incalculable strengths, and there are very little downfalls to be had throughout the running time. If anything, the one attribute keeping PIANOSCOPE from being absolutely flawless is that it’s so very startlingly consistent that every part feels equally urgent, and this makes the flow of the album a bit more monotonous than it could have been. That being said, it’s the most minor of complaints, and overall the album does a magnificent job of raising itself above many of the albums from 2011 that I deemed “the best”. Rarely am I this captivated with an album, one that so accurately conveys the world around us, and it’s with such grace and fragility that a landmark is created, and at that, one that should not be permitted to go unnoticed.