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Boomkat Product Review:
Not long ago a modern solo piano album was as rare as a post rock album without long drawn out quiet bits, but seemingly in the space of a few months we were greeted with a whole shower of records from musicians ditching the comforts of over-production in favour of the sound of the trusty ivories. That tradition has continued thankfully and this latest from William D. Drake shows that today's artists have no fear now of releasing something as stark and open to criticism as a solo piano album. The ex-Cardiacs member is clearly a gifted pianist too, and rather than the subtle and pensive micro-compositions of Goldmund, the prepared piano rumblings of Hauschka or the lush Gallic smokiness of Sylvain Chauveau, Drake goes down the brave road of contemporary jazz and old silent movie pastiche. This works to a point, and Drake's confidence drips from every note, givng the record a real sense of place and purpose, but I think there's definitely something lacking - maybe the atmosphere he tries to create would come over better with more production? The thing with a solo piano record is that there's a lot to prove using such little means, and while Drake manages to evoke a mood, it seems to stop without entirely completing its purpose. 'Yew's Paw' would without a doubt be a fitting accompaniment to a European silent movie in all its mischievous glory, but don't think you'll be getting any popcorn!