Tuesday, July 30, 2013

REVIEW: Jan Roth - L.O.W.

German pianist and multi-instrumentalist Jan Roth is a really impressive talent, and displays an interesting and varied approach on his debut album L.O.W. Roth demonstrates a facility with minimalist post-rock, piano jazz a la Brad Mehldau and cinematic, expansive music that falls between those touchpoints but somehow incorporates elements of prog and pop music, too. It's unique and always very listenable.

"Glühwürmchen" is a quiet start but a wonderful warm-up that showcases Roth's considerable piano skills and his facility with experimentation and with stretching and poking at the tempo and rhythm. "Einundzwanzig" is sort of cinematic - you can sort of picture a journey across a blasted landscape (or whatever type of landscape you might imagine). "Siebzehn" is one of the more upbeat, almost pop songs, but of course that is relative to the rest of this album:

"Kleine Freiheit" is reminiscent of some of the US jazz/hip-hop stuff from artists like Yesterday's New Quintet or The Bad Plus, or, again, Brad Mehldau. It's available for free download right now:

"Achtzehn" is perhaps my favorite song on the record, and showcases Roth's talent with using not a lot of notes to make some gorgeous music. Album closer "Regen" evokes more of a cityscape and is quietly beautiful, with only piano in the track. This is an impressive, sort of majestic debut. Roth has previously played drums live with German musician Tim Neuhaus at many of Hundreds' live shows. He has also played on many of Clueso and Max Prosa's records as well as countless jazz bands. L.O.W. is out now on German label Sinnbus Records.

Jan Roth Facebook
Sinnbus Records

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