Sternlumen is a musician from Denmark who in all likelihood plays piano way better than you. Nørrebro Nights is his second release that simply revolves around piano with no overdubs from what I heard.
Technical mastery versus aesthetics can be an interesting discussion about music. Does technical mastery matter to the average listener? The answer is overwhelming no. People who don’t play an instrument are less inclined to care how fast that guitar player is.
Most people listen to music because it provides an emotional reaction whether it is existential dread that you can relate to through a band like Radiohead or the feeling of adrenaline that you might get when listening to a band like Mastodon. For Sternlumen his technical prowess is indeed an integral factor to making emotionally resonant music but not always.
Take for instance the opener “Red Wine Melancholia” which features beautifully cascading piano notes that if it wasn’t for his precision and nuance would simply fall flat in the hands of a less experienced player. The feeling is all at once regal, eloquent and refined. “Nørrebrogade” wasn’t much of departure from ““Red Wine Melancholia” and was equally as impressive in many ways.
“Neon Lakes” conjured a different feeling from me. The song felt more haunting even dark at times. There is ring of sadness that surrounds the song that only seems to intensify as it progresses.
He mentions the philosopher Kierkegaard in the title “Kierkegaard between trees and spheres” but the meaning will have to be interpreted as there are no lyrics to guide a story. The explosive playing towards the end was a high point among many. “Regina” is dramatic and even chaotic sounding at points. Around the four-minute mark the piece shimmers with apprehension and uncertainty.
He closes with “Morgendämmerung” where he proves that some of the beauty can lie in between the notes. His technical mastery is put to the side and embraces the depth and sustain of each note. It's in this moment that he understands that as a brilliant player as he is he doesn't have to always show it.
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