A classically trained pianist Luke Howard has turned his incredible talents to an electronic album of sorts. Two Places is his latest body of work and a triumph of difference and true artistic talent.
The album opens with ‘The Main Sequence’ a six minute construction of beautifully layered sounds that move effortless into the ears. The track rises and falls from stripped back keyboards into waves of crashing cymbals which both relax and excite. In truth an album that is a completely instrumental album dominated by keyboards is not many peoples first choice. However tracks such as ‘Longplay’ allow us to immerse ourselves in something quite beautiful and different. His stark piano creates such tension that it allows a cinematic imagery to cascade into our minds. It further allows us to feel that it’s well worth unplugging ourselves from the world for just an hour to appreciate this man wonderful talents.
‘The Map is Not Territory’ moves away slightly from the keyboard as haunting violins begin the track. Further strings build drama and again our minds are transported to another place, which is continued with the moody ‘Holtsgata’.
‘The Mist Hardships’ represents the main body of the album with a twelve minute soundscape. Here Howard uses all his new found electronic wizardry as he constructs an ambient masterclass which brings back ambient chill out music to another level.
The lead single ‘Two Places’ is simply a wonderfully beautiful track with exquisite key changes as Howard shows his true brilliants behind the piano. The track is backed with a prominent tingling of cymbals and splattering percussion that drives the track yet still allow the beauty of the piano to shine through and maintain its place at the forefront.
‘Atlases’ continues the haunting beauty of this album and our ears are now tuned into every key change and pitch that Howard delivers to us. The main different with an album like this is the effort you make as a listener. The time and dedication is rewarded as the music is so evocative it almost celebrates the time we have invested. We are rewarded again with the haunting beautiful ‘Radio Fields’ and the wonderfully constructed ‘Common Ground’.
Howard has worked on many soundtrack in his career and the attention to detail is evident. This is a classical music album yet it feels relevant and refreshing. Howard’s success is on the back of his work with screen and sound. However he has also found an audience in more mainstream circles. This is evident in his recent support for the wonderful Benjamin Clementine and gaining rave reviews from BBC6 music. He is changing attitudes to what modern classical music can do and should be. He is also capable of producing beautiful music for all of us to enjoy.
Two places is available from iTunes.