I’ve been listening to Ripples for nearly a month now, waiting to find the time to write about it. With each listen, the record has impressed me more. Ripples is a short affair, but it’s more compelling than it deserves to be. Each of its three tracks — and one of them is over ten minutes — are engrossing, diverse, and pleasantly surprising.
Alejandro Bento is a tremendous pianist. Each track on the album shows him demonstrating a wide range of skills, but “Mar” is the track that most impresses me. Bento plays through a ten minute track that feels more like a brief suite than it does a single track, with a simple theme that Bento pushes beyond its limitations and into new and exciting places.
Bento’s also an incredibly dynamic pianist. His music stays interesting because of the masterful control that he has over the power of his fingers, allowing the volume to ebb and flow with seemingly little effort. He plays with so much grace that it’s easy to listen to the album on repeat, picking up minor things you hadn’t noticed on each new listen.
In many ways, Bento reminds me of some of Nils Frahm’s older work. But where Nils Frahm dove deep into electronic, Bento takes a different approach.
The most interesting track on the record, though, is the surprisingly well-done Robot Koch remix of “Rain”. The remix takes the song in an entirely new direction. It’s an elegant mix of electronic music and traditional classical.
I think the folks at Subtempo Records must have agreed with me, because this week also sees the release or Ripples Remixed, a seven-track collection of remixes by artists who are pushing the bounds of what’s possible with electronic music. The remixes are as elegant and beautiful as the original music — which is a surprising (and triumphant) surprise.
In many ways, it’s easier to love the remixes than it is the original. I suspect everybody will find something to love in the remixes, and the original record will appeal largely to fans of modern classical.
The remixes add a lot of texture to what was already a very textured record, giving an impression of added depth and meaning to each track.