Richard Dillon, New Age pianist and composer, considers himself more of a “Neo-Impressionist,” than a “New Ager.” That’s fine if we insist on categorizing. But there is a very good reason for characterizing himself in this way rather than just to distance himself from a particular label, style, or genre. If you really listen to this release, “The Land of Nod: Lullabies for the Listless” – really listen rather than just play it in the background – you will discover that Dillon paints us some very tranquil, yet unmistakably defined musical landscapes.
Neo-Impressionism is a style of painting using the technique of pointillism, made popular in France in the late 19th century. Pointillism is also a particular musical style. As in Neo-Impressionistic painting, what becomes apparent in this album from the very beginning, is that every “dot,” every note, in every song on this album is clearly deliberate, executed with thoughtful cadence and timing. Adding another few layers to the whole mix, Dillon, who is also autistic, holds a Master of Music degree, among several others.
The result is as intended: A calculated arrangement, that while obviously made up of individual notes, comes together in a carefully orchestrated composition that has more depth and brilliance than “just another soothing, solo piano album.” As well, one could say that each song itself is also its own “point of light” contributing to the whole. So while from the outside, or at first listen, the album may seem perhaps a simplistically charming collection of soul-soothing adult lullabies, it really is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional beauty. It all just works.
There really was not one song I didn’t like on this album, which is all very relaxing and nicely engineered, especially if you like solo piano and classical piano albums. A few favorites: “Sea of Forgetfulness,” Track 7. Here Dillon evidences his musical training with some very nice trills. “The Land of Nod,” Track 13, is a wistful, harmonious piece. “My Bed is a Boat” takes us back to the conscious, floating, dreaming of childhood where we could simply travel to any destination through our imaginations. Track 12, “Papillion,” which is the French word for “butterfly,” curiously enough, has a little heavier feel. All definitely interesting. Soothing. Thoughtful. Relaxing. Recommended.
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