|It takes a lot of listening to explore the depths of this third solo piano album by Canadian expat in Berlin, Brian Agro. The pieces are imaginative miniatures, mostly 1-3 minutes with a couple around 5 minutes, played in an attentive, crystalline fashion by Tomas Bachli. Each has its own mood built up out of melodic, simple yet complex elements. If there is an overall energy, Id have to use words like reflective and enigmatic but there are often cheerful highlights touched by mischief. There are ocassional moments, as in 'Prétudes' Part I and II, when a feeling of heaviness bordering on monotony arises.
The work is published on the Percaso label and is classed as a kind of avant/jazz, but the music brings to my mind the elegant keyboard ruminations of Ravel and the illusionary play of Debussy. Agro has a good ear, good taste, and a sensitivity to fine gradations of feeling, all reflected in his idiosyncratic chord structures. His miniatures repay repeated careful listening but are also enjoyable to have around while you work or relax.
by Stanley Fefferman June 2008