Lubomyr Melnyk: piano
I’m reminiscing of a period, not too long ago, when Italy was struck by the “Wim Mertens virus”, as the Belgian composer and pianist was all the rage on these shores. They even employed some of his output for TV commercials, if my memory has not entirely failed. Mertens – who, let me be honest now, did release a few chapters of authentically cool material in the past (a favorite being “Multiple 12”, Soft Verdict version) – found sempiternal glory over here especially in virtue of a brand of inoffensive piano pieces that gullible auditorium-filling congregations were ready to wear like pearl necklaces from heaven. Then came Michael Nyman’s The Piano, but that’s another story. All of this stuff was the perfect “furniture music” in the pre-economic wreck, wealthy-leftist yuppie era of this soon-to-be-removed-from-civilization Mediterranean wart. That’s why I remained a tad flabbergasted finding the same definition – on the promotional sheet, no less – in relation to the most extended subdivision of this brightly succinct album by Melnyk, which caused this writer to wonder what would have occurred had the above mentioned audiences met the Ukrainian’s improbably fluent arpeggios at that time. Also, reading All Music Guide’s comparison of Melnyk’s predominantly binary and ternary superimpositions with Conlon Nancarrow’s mind-boggling irrational rhythmic designs justified a repressed fit of laughter, reminding your dog-tired reporter how easy throwing random names is without having a clue of what one’s talking about.
Though the cyclical coincidence of differing geometric patterns is unquestionably crucial in any form of minimalist and/or reiterative sonic procedure, what separates Melnyk from the others is a pair of simple things. First, his creations – while maintaining an utterly apprehensible melodic construction – elicit reverberative glorioles that cause the forgetting of single components and, as a consequence, the intellection of a wholeness: the originating gesture, the implicit spirituality, the staggeringly taxing physical continuance, the ultimate all-embracing totality of a magnificent acoustic (ir)reality. Second, and most important: as distinctly established by these three tracks, the crystal-clear naturalness born from the execution seriously tickles the imagination. In the final “Cloud Passade No.3” – not surprisingly quoted by Melnyk as a moment of illumination in performance – we genuinely envisaged water sprinkling from a source and rocky mountains irregularly edging a blue sky. We were connected, in the process of reaching the level of inherent sentience which only certain resonant combinations – definitely not words – can lead to. In total harmonic compatibility, for good measure (unless you get scared by the slightly ominous dissonance of “Corrosions On The Surface Of Life”).