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Album Review: Unbroken
Dave Kydd
Cover image of the album Unbroken by Dave Kydd
Dave Kydd
2012 / Dave Kydd
54 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Unbroken is the second album from Scottish-born pianist/composer Dave Kydd, following his 2010 debut, About Time. Produced by the legendary Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios, this collection of eleven original piano solos is graceful, spare, and very beautiful. Kydd’s touch is warm and expressive, making each piece a gentle vignette. With college degrees in piano and music therapy and a Masters in Counseling Psychology, Kydd is well-versed in the human condition as well as music, using his understanding of both to get deep into the soul of each piece. Often more ambient than melodic, this is music that can provide a quiet backdrop for various activities, but it is also complex enough to get lost in for a relaxing hour or so. While there is no flash or bravado in this music, it reveals something new with each listen, whispering secrets rather than blurting out all the details.

“A Warm Wind” opens the album, soft-spoken yet compelling. This lovely piece also appeared on About Time, in a somewhat shorter version. The gently swirling motion of the music is hypnotic and lets you know right away that this is not just another piano album. “All Is Silence” makes wonderful use of the spaces between the notes, giving the music plenty of room to breathe. The freshness and spontaneity of this piece gives it the feeling of an improvisation. I would love to know how “Suburban Warrior” got its name, as it is actually very peaceful - I really like this one! “Red Dress” was also on About Time, and this version also overflows with sweetness, innocence, and grace. “Cathedral At Midnight” has a repeating left hand pattern that suggests peaceful stillness. Some of the melody is played in the deep bass, suggesting darkness and calm. I really like this one, too. “We Will Be Together” has the warmth and intimacy of a reassuring conversation - tender and open. One might expect a piece about a train to have strong repetitive rhythm and a feeling of motion, but “Prairie Train” is very leisurely and rubato - another beauty. “The Price” closes the album with a sincere and haunting piece that obviously comes from deep within. It becomes very dark and intense in the middle, most likely reflecting the consequences of a disastrous choice. The ending section becomes more peaceful and accepting while tinged with regret. A gorgeous close to an outstanding album!

As much as I enjoyed About Time, Unbroken is amazing in its lyrical beauty and emotional depth. In fact, I just added it to my list of Favorites for the year. Unbroken is available from myspace.com/davegkydd, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
November 20, 2012
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Kathy's Favorites: 2012
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Cover image of the album About Time by Dave Kydd
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