Review: Francesco Tristano

The pianist's new album, Idiosynkrazia explores the nexus of techno, classical and jazz.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

It's little wonder why Francesco Tristano has sound favor with Detroit techno deity Carl Craig, who's collaborated with the Julliard-trained keyboardist in performance and lent him use of his Planet E studio for the recording of Idiosynkrasia—both are fascinated with the possibilities afforded by merging electronic-music sensibilities with jazz and classical motifs. But the two explore those musical relationships from slightly different angles: Discounting a few notable exceptions (like his overtly jazzoid outings with Innerzone Orchestra), Craig's take on those sonic is a slightly abstract, implied one, whereas Tristano simply goes for it, layering his sometimes stark, sometimes lush piano work with electronic atmospherics and the occasional jacked-up rum pattern. The music can be relentless and driving; album opener "Mambo" fuses its angular piano melody to a jagged electro rhythm and humming synths to ominous effect. Elsewhere, the result is a soothing lullaby; "Lastdays," for instance, could almost be mistaken as a lost track from minimalist composer Erik Satie. Throughout, Tristano's sound is a supremely confident one, make by an artist who's not afraid to experiment, but confident that those experiments will lead to someplace interesting.

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Idiosynkrasia (InFin)