ADRIAN KNIGHT – Obsessions

Irritable Hedgehog

I have always believed that sitting in front of a piano to deliberately investigate chordal combinations, repetitions and resonances might constitute one of the most effective therapies for people in search of some measure of order. In his notes to Obsessions, Adrian Knight writes “All my life I’ve struggled with bad habits, routines, patterns, obsessions. Whether a form of mild self-flagellation or a mindless desire for normalcy and structure, they rule my life”. Reading this doesn’t come as a surprise. I just knew – since the beginning of my initial encounter with the piece – that this was a classic case of “same wavelength” defining listening experiences which, in turn, provide crucial answers. Or confirmations. Therefore, this reviewer’s best compliment for the album is that this music resembles, very closely, the things that he himself would attempt to play when facing the dangers of extreme introversion. Mental composure attained through the superimpositions of varying pitch gradations, silence used exclusively as the container of those wonderfully reverberating chord tails.

Pianist R. Andrew Lee specializes in intimate renditions of scores penned by artists who have placed the instrument at the centre of their visions. His interpretation of the small variations, reiterative fragments, sudden ruptures and profound clusters conceived by Knight is impeccable; we can literally visualize the connection between hands gifted with the certitude of foreknowledge and a mind that, gradually soothed by the frequencies, little by little becomes one with the sonic tide. There are several passages – around the 22th and 38th minute, for example, and the very finale – where the sense of unspeakable truth is almost unbearable; a place where gracefulness is achingly sorrowful, lingering memories from the past arranging themselves in accordance with new interior laws. The emotional aura irradiated by this work is comparable to earlier milestones such as, say, Gavin Bryars’ Hommages; these are the heights we’re talking about. To both composer and performer I’d leave this direct message: no matter if you ultimately managed to achieve an individual aim; the truly important result of your efforts is having furnished essential lighting to roads that were at risk of remaining in darkness, thus out of sight for someone who may need them.

For this, we all should be grateful.

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