Mists of Time
2020 / Andrew Colyer
Review by Kathy Parsons
Mists of Time is the fourth solo album from award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Colyer. Andrew has sung and played piano, keyboards and trumpet across the US, England, Canada and Japan; he has performed at Carnegie Hall three times. Classically-trained at Juilliard, Colyer’s musical resumé is literally all over the map - from rock and prog-rock to jazz and big band to scoring for radio, video and film - and that eclectic background merges to create a style and approach that is unique and original. The list of artists and groups Andrew has performed and collaborated with is an impressive “Who’s Who” of contemporary music. He calls Mists of Time “ambient soundscape arrangements and non-traditional solo piano improvisations,” but that only hints at the musical treasure-trove contained in the twelve original compositions and improvisations that make up the album. Instrumentation includes piano, keyboards, guitar, percussion and wordless vocals.
Mists of Time begins with “Rain Notes: Storm,” a beautiful ambient piece that I would guess is mostly performed on keyboards. Guitar sounds simulate big fat raindrops, as other sounds (including piano) intensify as the storm builds - very effective! “Oliver’s Journey” is a solo piano improvisation that feels very “in the moment,” moving freely in any direction the music chooses. “In Alex’s Orbit” makes very effective use of reverb to create an other-worldly feeling with the piano. About mid-way into the piece, drums and percussion enter to lighten the mood and bring the piece back down to earth. “Strings of the Ocean” is mostly acoustic guitar with ocean sounds and layers of ambient instrumentation - a favorite! “One Thing” was released as a single in 2017 and was remastered for this album. A piano solo, parts of this piece are quite melodic and others are more ambient. “Rain Notes: Forest” is my favorite track on the album. The electronic instrumentation is very dark and intense - sometimes downright spooky! “A Thoughtful Moment” is a quietly reflective piano solo - also a favorite. By far the longest piece on the album, “Ghosts of Aberfan” clocks in at 8 1/2 minutes and tells the story of the 1966 Welsh mining disaster when 300,000 cubic yards of coal sludge buried a primary school and nineteen houses. 144 people, mostly school children, died. A simple and very poignant melody is woven throughout the piano solo, but other passages are much darker and more intense. It’s an amazing and very expressive piano solo! “Moons of Jupiter” returns to electronic ambience, this time with impressions of vast, dark, open space with planets and stars flickering their light in all directions. “Serenity” closes the album with a beautiful piano piece that includes wordless vocals, muted trumpet, percussion, strings and a variety of other sounds - a great ending to an exceptional album!
Mists of Time is available from sites such as Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify.
November 20, 2020