2017 / Josh Winiberg
Review by Kathy Parsons
Change is the second full-length album I’ve reviewed by UK-based composer/pianist/producer/DJ Josh Winiberg. Josh released his first solo piano album at 16 and Those Nights at the age of 21. I was extremely impressed with Those Nights and gave it a glowing review. Nine years later, Winiberg is a well-seasoned yet very versatile artist who specializes in soundtracks. He has composed music for a variety of media that includes video games, contemporary dance productions, theater performances and films. The ten original instrumental pieces on Change include piano and keyboards as well as tracks with guitarist Alex Milne and The Bergersen Quartet. The music is varied in style and expresses a wide range of emotions - perfect for soundtracks! This is an outstanding album from the first note to the last and a likely candidate as a Favorite album for the year. It does my piano teacher’s heart good to see and hear a young pianist/composer creating music with such depth, beauty, and expression!
Change begins with “Spirals,” a haunting piece for piano, guitar, and electronics that paints a mysterious picture of tragedy or desolation. Dark with powerful undertones, it’s an amazing opener. “The Dancer” was composed for piano and string quartet. It begins with a quiet solo piano intro, adding the strings one instrument at a time. Light and graceful gradually becomes stronger and more intense, ending gently with the piano only. “Amor Fati” includes the full ensemble of piano, guitar and strings in a piece with a strong classical sweep and contemporary roots. “Remember” is a delicate and nostalgic duet for piano and acoustic guitar. A colorful story told without words, the imagined illustrations for the story are gorgeous! “X” returns to darker tones and compelling emotional depth, this time as a piano solo - I love this one! “Ouroboros” is for piano and string quartet with a dramatic classical feeling that is sometimes gentle and peaceful and sometimes much bigger and more intense. “Inertia” is very atmospheric with reverb and lots of open space. Piano and electric guitar cast a mysterious spell that feels a little eerie but not scary - kind of like walking in dense fog. It’s a favorite! The title track is a ensemble piece for piano, guitar, cello and electronics. Dark, powerful and very intense, it’s a bit more than six minutes of musical magic. In a word, WOW!!! “One Last Time” follows with the same players in a much more mournful mood that goes right to the heart. Oddly, the last track is “Prelude,” and by definition, a prelude is a short introductory piece. Sweetly uplifting and optimistic with the full ensemble, it’s like a colorful sunrise after a long dark night.
Change grabbed me right away and held on tight. I hope it won’t be so long between albums this next time! Josh Winiberg is a brilliant composer and instrumentalist and the world needs more music of this calibre! Bravo!!! It is available from Amazon, Bandcamp, CD Baby and iTunes. I give it my highest recommendation!
June 1, 2017