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Music Review: Trips for Piano LP by Martin Graff

The piano is a special instrument. Versatile and adaptive, skilled musicians use it to produce the softest of melodies and/or the hardest of rock and roll. But Martin Graff uses it to create extraordinary beauty. His recently released LP, Trips for Piano, is a lovely collection of eight instrumental tracks that highlight the piano’s impressive capacity for delivering delicate notes.

Martin Graff
Martin Graff

Each track — which can last between three and nine minutes — is slow, light, and meditative. These qualities are reflected in the long notes, slow tempo, and relaxed compositions. The music is not “attention grabbing” per se; rather, it’s attention restorative. Graff puts the focus on the composition, and makes sure that each note gets the appreciation it deserves.

Stylistically, the album is pretty straight forward. If “Prism,” the first track on the LP, puts the attention of individual notes, “Sonare” offers a bit more to appreciate in terms of arrangement. All in all, Trips for Piano is a very slow and steady work. To add to its appeal, Graff couples his compositions with visual aids in the form of music videos, mostly of his performances,

For “Prism,” however, the artist released a lovely video montage of the various “prisms” that can be found in our surroundings. From natural pools of water to artificial surfaces, the music video features numerous examples of prism forms. Coupling industrial footage with natural landscapes, Graff directs our focus on the spectrum of colors produced by fractured white light.

The multi-talented musician and spoken word artist has been a fan of the piano since he was four years old, realizing that he and the instrument were “meant to be.” But creativity is often a gift and a burden, and so when his gift began to feel heavy, he stepped away from his instrument of choice for nearly 20 years.

According to the press release, Trips for Piano “chronicles his return to music, along with his newfound experience of creation as a source of grounding, liberation and joy.” To Graff, the work is “ the sound of realizing that what he felt during that initial love-at-first-sight encounter with the instrument never actually left him.” In a way, it’s a tribute to a rekindled love affair.

The album, which doubles as the score for Graff’s long-running spoken word show The Face Zone, is meant to function as a catalyst for setting the audience’s imagination free. As such, the Trips for Piano LP is currently available on Spotify and all the major audio services as well as on YouTube.

Note* Music provided for objective review by our partners.


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