On January 31, Glasgow-based composer Blair Coron released his debut album On The Nature of Things, following his 2016 EP Do-Re, which was previously written about here.
When approached to write a review, after a first listen to the album, my answer was: “Sure, I can write about this. The music hints in some ways at what is currently going on in the piano-based, neo-classical scene, but it is somehow very colourful.” Later, I looked at the album artwork and realised that it was, in fact, quite literally a floral palette of vivid colours.
The titles are delightfully on the nose as well, referencing greenery, kitchen scenes, ancient history and, well, doom. The nature of all the things indeed, the composer describes the album as “a delicate exploration of the intricacy and fragility of life, nature and the surrounding world. It is love…mortality…the sublime…a personal mantra…every thing.”
Technically, it is obvious that a carefully chosen musician occupies every seat of the studio; the piano performance is effortless and the string sound balanced and expressive. There are noticeable influences from the front-runners of the contemporary music scene, but Coron still holds true to his own concept. It will without a doubt be very interesting to see where he takes it from here. He is not afraid of simplicity in sweetness, yet he is not here to make you comfortable either, switching styles abruptly between pieces. We travel between high-pitched violin tremolos and a folk-like voice ensemble with guitar accompaniment, among other effects.
The 19-minute title piece (also the album´s epilogue) is a personal favorite with its steady rhythm, build-up and short motifs that remind the listener of the actual movements of nature and wildlife. Verging the line between popular and high culture, laughing at us while we stare at the borders in confusion, On The Nature Of Things is a breath of fresh air in a myriad of overly serious contemporary offerings.