Boomkat Product Review:
The scene: the welsh mountains, remote and harsh, a good place to produce a special album. Volker Bertelmann on pianos as well as bass from Stefan Schneider of Mapstation and To Rococo Rot, and a deftest trace of processing, barely discernible.
This is tender, highly personal music, simply because it has always been there in some shape or form, because it has always been important. Think Satie, 'Koln Konzert' or perhaps even Bill Evans at his most european and romantic.
The title points to the fact that this luscious album deals with the big stuff, not just finger exercises or background muzak. “Substantial” is based upon improvisation - each track is based upon an opening sequence, the theme of which is extended, modulated and varied, with no specific objective in mind. What emerges is music of substance: eleven atmospheric pieces allowed to break into consciousness, gently searing images with narrative depth unfold; double bass or vibraphone appear, at once lending a hint of pop, but at no time detracting from the central instrument.