Rich Batsford, Mindfulmess, 2012

Rich Batsford - MindfulmessOkay, this one I did not see coming. I did a review on the previous album from Rich Batsford, Valentine Court, which I still remember for the boldness of creating a solo piano album (as in piano being the sole thing you hear). On this new effort however, Rich hooked up a microphone and added his vocals. Not only lead, but also phenomenal harmonies. After reading he once was a member of a Beach Boys tribute band, I knew where those were coming from…

Another cool thing are the small rhythmic variations in the songs. Quite sure many drummers would really hate to play along to those. Yet they are not important in the way that they dominate. It is more of a small arrangement aspect to spice the songs up. Talking of songs, prepare to be blown away with the total package. I would go as far as to suggest that if Rich recruited a band (in Coldplay style) he would have hit appeal. Top X-factor material for sure.

Because if anything, this album is a joy from beginning to end. His vocals have great charm and, coupled with his impeccable piano playing, create moods that I cannot resist. In fact I think anyone with even the littlest interest in music will fall in love with this. It may be a mindfulmess (yeah, took me a while to figure out), but that mind sure creates beautiful things. BUY!

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PS: To Rich, album 1: piano, album 2: piano and vocals, if album 3 needs guitars, give me a call 😉

Rich Batsford, Valentine Court, 2009

Rich Batsford - Valentine CourtAnd now for something completely different! I got this from a fellow Thoughster who asked me to review it.
This is an instrumental, all piano album. Yeah you understand me right, piano only!
I must admit I think it is extremely brave for someone to release an album like this. This must feel very naked for a musician.

So what about the music?  There is no doubt in my mind that Rich is a very talented individual with a lot of strong ideas. I am confident that anyone who likes and understands piano, will recognize his skills. In the about 43 minutes the disk lasts he is able to show that. He plays steady, yet is able to express himself with variations in volume, song tempo´s, etcetera, and to project his intentions through his songs.

That said, I have a few suggestions also:
I think he could try some ideas with very little notes. A little Satie like. I would be very curious to find out if he can work with silence. In this collection I feel he is at times too present with his playing. And I do not mean the way silence is used in Just Sitting ;-).
More really slow tempo´s and sometimes fast could also help to variate more.
On the production side I sometimes felt the sound could use a little more room to make the piano sound bigger.
But overall, my congratulations to Rich, great work.

Personal play tips: Lyndall, Namaste, Jewel.

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