Boomkat Product Review:
The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams furnishes Room 40 with his quietly devastating first suite of solo keys for the label, some 35 years since his debut ‘Piano’.
Aside from duties in beloved trio, The Necks, Chris Abrahams has combined his skills as a consummate and versatile collaborator with everyone from Mike Cooper to Melanie Oxley and Lucio Capece over the decades, but his solo albums are of rarer, personalised substance, exploring a wide range of electro-acoustic, concrète, and free improv, as last heard in 2016’s ‘Fluid To The Influence.’ Here, however, he strips right back to just him and the piano for an album of palpably vulnerable, instrumental laments that loop back to the haunting atmosphere of his first record for Room 40, ‘Thrown’ (2005), but expressed via a more restrained palette with profound, even cathartic results.
Fair to say, for us at least, that instrumental and acoustic music has taken on a new significance or meaning during 2020’s lockdown, and thus we receive ‘Appearance’ in a slightly heightened state of sensitivity. That state could also be down to the fact I’m listening and writing this from my teenage bedroom (long story), but Chris is simply flooring us with every stroke of the keys, following hypnotically repetitive, grippingly melodic lines of thought that seem to spiral ever deeper into themselves, and us, with deeply transfixing effect that will surely bear up to many return listens. Trust there’s nothing “difficult” here, but also no frilly fromage; just the quintessence of modest, beautifully personal music.