Chris Abrahams – “Climb”

The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams releases his tenth solo album and his fifth solo piano album.

Characterised by Abrahams’ free-flowing modal legato and cascading phrasing, Climb unfolds through its seven tracks with a fluidity that is both ambient and emotional. Intensely emotional. And, dare I say it, almost psychedelic.

Familiar to admirers of Abrahams’ mesmeric work with The Necks, in Climb melodic motifs act as starting points, with pieces developing along their own organic trajectories.

The lyricism of tracks such as ‘Roller’, and ‘Beach of Black Stones’ is contrasted with the angular velocity of ‘Fern Scrapes’ and the rhythmic, interlocking patterning of ‘Overlap’ – with its dream-like use of the sustain pedal. The final track, ‘Shoreline’ utilises energetic phrasing and dense inner-voice – accompaniment provides an uplifting finale.

But, what did I get from this piece? Solace. As regular readers of this blog know, I have been working my fingers to the bone building web sites for other people. Between jobs (I am a freelancer) I try and unwind with music. “Climb” is one such album I have been listening to – although I am unsure that Abrahams intended it to be an ‘easy-listen’.

There are some very complex structures and phrasings to this piece that set me, the listener, at peace yet on edge, bolt upright in my chair. There is a sense of acute alarm in the beauty of the music in this album that keeps on making me come back for more.

To reduce the artist to a labourer would be detriment to the cause – however, it is Abrahams craft & trade; and he is damn good at it. You can’t help but listen to the album “Climb” and be in awe of Abrahams’ musicality that was brought to the fore to make it. I am in awe.

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