Where We're Standing Now is a collection of piano solo improvisations recorded between 2013 and 2019 by Josh Johnston. In order to get away with something like this you obviously have to be very talented. On a personal note this music comes at a good time for me as I was just exploring the virtuoso Glenn Gould.
The overall vibe felt relaxing and calming for the most part. There wasn’t much dissonance or changes that you might call jarring. I don’t say this in a pejorative way but this is music that easily blends into the background. I feel like it would be good for studying or perhaps contemplative thinking. The amount of attention you provide is what you get back.
Two of the songs “Green Meditation” and “Letting Go” were recorded in 2019 as part of a collaborative project with English poet Mark Hutchinson. Hutchinson read his poetry and prose and Johnston improvised to it live. Both the songs are around six minutes in length. The former in this case did feel more like the title. It’s quite serene and hypnotic. The notes sustain bleeds into each making for a beautiful soundscape There is also a fragility to the music.
“Letting Go” is more syncopated. The notes are separate from each other at least at first. I enjoyed where the song went. The use of space was important to the song.
“Capital City Dublin 1974-75” is larger in scope and comes in just under twenty minutes. The song is an improvised score to a short silent film of the same name shot by Jim Mulkerns and Brendan Halligan depicting Dublin city in the mid-1970s. There is a lot of nostalgia to this song. It felt tailored for a film and goes through different emotions like hope and perseverance.
“Where We're Standing Now” comes in at almost forty-five minutes in length and is too epic in scale to summarize in a couple of words. I will say it’s dynamic and there are a lot of different colors and moods to explore. If you appreciated his previous material this is certainly worth your time to explore.
There is an immense amount of technical and creative talent all over this release. Fans of exceptional piano players will love this. Take a listen.
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