2019 / Jacco Wynia
Review by Kathy Parsons
Discomfort is the second piano album from Dutch neo-classical pianist/composer/musician Jacco Wynia. From the title, I expected the music to be discordant and/or experimental and possibly a downer to listen to, but this album is none of those things. Jacco explains it best: “Discomfort contains twelve solo-piano pieces that gently tell the story of giving difficulties a place. Discomfort sounds unappealing to most people, but by giving it its proper place, discomfort will disappear. The tension between different emotions can be heard in the songs, throughout the album they slowly dissolve into a new world full of wonder, making the transition from Discomfort to Comfort.” Jacco goes on to say: “For me music is all about connecting. Connecting with each other, with nature, and with the core of self. Music can inspire wonderful things.” The album is mostly solo piano with string washes on one track. The piano was lightly “prepared” with a piece of cloth between the hammers and strings to get just the right amount of dampening and clearness in tone and to reduce the percussive effect of the hammers hitting the strings.
Overall, the music is quiet and subtle, but as soon as you start listening more intently, the complexity and beauty really become apparent. The album can provide an elegant and soothing background, but it offers so much more when you really listen to the music. There is so much to savor and enjoy, and the music seems to gradually open and reveal itself like a beautiful flower evolving from a bud to a bloom. The slightly muted effect of the cloth between the hammers and strings allows more of the inner workings of the piano to be heard, but not so much that it detracts from the music. On many albums, the creaks, pops, and squeaks of the piano become part of the music, but on this one, those sounds are a subtle reminder that the music is coming from an instrument with MANY moving parts.
Discomfort begins with “It’s Complicated and that’s fine,” a piece cloaked in mystery. A bit intense, it is both beautiful and intriguing, immediately drawing you in. “Welt Felt” is on the wistful melancholy side with a gently flowing melody that touches the heart. The title track has a dark, classical feeling that I really like. Deeply emotional and moody, it’s a favorite. “Carried Away” picks up the tempo with a swirling energy that propels the melody, some of which is played cross-handed in the deep bass of the piano. “Obscurite illume” returns to a feeling of mystery with a repeated rhythmic pattern that supports a quiet but very beautiful melody. I really like this one, too! Like a sunrise, “Newborn Sun” is breathtaking yet incredibly peaceful. The infectious rhythm of “Melodia Melancholia” keeps the reflective melody from becoming dark. I really love the subtle energy that drives this piece and keeps it moving forward until it trails off at the end. “Home within You within Me” overflows with warmth and contentment. “You can rest now” closes the album with gentle reassurance that it’s okay to slow down and take a break from the busy-ness of our lives.
Discomfort is excellent from the first note to the last! It is available from Amazon and iTunes as well as many of the streaming sites and sellers in Europe.
April 29, 2019