Nine tracks of completely uncontrived, gentle, calming, solo piano that is guaranteed to return you to a place of peace and solace. – Dyan Garris
“Music From The Long Quiet” from Matthew Labarge (Larkenlyre), was released on October 1, 2020. The album was composed and recorded during, and shortly after, the now historical quarantine period and the ongoing circumstances of the year that is 2020. Matthew says, “It’s an album of contemplation, and a story of making the quiet good.” And good it is.
The album opens with the very tranquil, “Begin,” which is, of course, the perfect beginning. Nicely melodic and quiet, this soothes the soul from the very first notes. Contemplative and peaceful.
Following is the lovely, “Longing,” which is equally as contemplative, melodic, and quietly peaceful. There is something about the music on this album, the way it is written and played, that is deeply and emotionally moving while being extremely gentle. It’s like the love shines through the foggy mist of the long, long quiet. Simply calming and beautiful without any fuss, which is sweet medicine to the soul right about now.
“Regret” is wistful and thoughtful, but not melancholy. This is soft, introspective thoughts on a long, still, summer night, perhaps. Nice melodic theme and that smooth, dreamy peacefulness that we find throughout this album, once again effortlessly soothes the spirit.
Perfectly capturing the quarantine feeling that we all experienced earlier this year, “Quiet” is composed and played with sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and a delicate, somber kind of cadence. Expressive, and really nice.
Life, during and after “the long quiet,” goes on. “Continue” invites us to poke our heads out gingerly from quarantine – or anywhere else we’ve been “hibernating” – and emerge into a world where we find ourselves in a whole new paradigm. Also extremely peaceful, this speaks gently and directly to the soul on many levels.
“Compassion” is heart-opening, again gentle, and ultra-calming without trying to be. The melody is tender and emotionally graceful. Soft and vulnerable, this really touches the heartstrings. It’s a favorite, although, it’s really rather impossible to try to pick one here as the whole album is a flowing river of peace.
An excellent blend and use of both upper and lower piano registers, “Redemption” is dreamy, flowing, and perfectly composed and played. This is balm to any aching soul.
“Cathedral” is awesomely rumbling and reverent. This is just over 6 minutes of thoughtful introspection of just where we are, where we’ve been, where we may find ourselves, and where we are going. Artistically interesting, to be sure. Something else I find artistically interesting is the use of an elongated sustain pedal at the end of several songs, (and a completely quiet period at the end of the title track), which subtly and effectively draws out the concept of “the long quiet.” Cool.
The album closes out with the melodic “Songbirds.” Matthew’s velvety touch on the keys gets the “dream on” here. Oh, so gentle, truly soothing, this unruffles the feathers with ease and grace. Love it. I recommend getting the whole album for the full tranquility experience. The music is quiet and comforting, and something you will take with you inside yourself on your journey as we move beyond these strange times.
Get it here: https://matthewlabarge.com/music-recorded.html or wherever music is sold/downloaded/streamed.