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Album Review: Those Nights
Josh Winiberg
Cover image of the album Those Nights by Josh Winiberg
Those Nights
Josh Winiberg
2007 / Josh Winiberg
66 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Those Nights is British composer Josh Winiberg’s third release and he’s just turned twenty-one! His debut, “Sunrise,” was released when he was seventeen, after he’d been teaching himself to play the piano for only two years. Josh is currently studying in Berlin on a university exchange and is expanding his musical horizons by working with experimental music and performance art. It will be fascinating to see where all of this leads, but in the meantime, Those Nights is a stunningly beautiful solo piano album that is more improvisational than Winiberg’s previous two releases. The album is made up of twelve solo piano tracks and an electronic mix. The music is expressive and emotional, and is surprisingly mature. Many younger composers are all over the place, trying to say too much and attempting to impress with bravado rather than with heart. If Josh Winiberg is this good at twenty-one, look out world - we’re seeing a major force in the music world developing before our very eyes! Those Nights is currently available only as a download, but will be released on CD in the near-future. Winiberg sent me this quote that will more than likely go into the liner notes: "As the memories of those nights, those places, those people, slowly fade into the distance, what I am left with is this album. For all those that weather the storm with me, this is for you."

Those Nights begins with “First Light,” one of the most haunting pieces I’ve heard in awhile. A repeated note sets the rhythm for the gentle, atmospheric melody. Played at almost a whisper, it’s amazing how so few notes can be so powerful. This piece alone is worth the price of admission, as is its reprise at the end of the album. “Before the Storm” is a bit more complex but is also reminiscent of Eric Satie. As the piece evolves, a variety of themes alternate with the original theme - very effective! “Return” is very quiet, introspective, and soul-searching, and was written during the time Winiberg was composing “Silent Embrace.” “Gathering Clouds” is a concept piece that begins very gently with lots of open space between the notes. In the second section, the fluttering notes on the left hand could indicate wind. The third section picks up energy and turbulence as the clouds become more ominous. Winiberg paints a vivid picture of the beginnings of a major storm - sometimes calm, sometimes frightening - a great piece! Not surprisingly, “The Storm” follows with dark drama and lots of power. The quiet moments of this piece make the swirling storm even more effective. The title track is amazing. Spontaneous yet cohesive, the various themes describe a pensive, reflective mood and let us in on the inner thoughts of the composer. “Stars In a Dark Blue Sky” is a bit jazzier in style, but is still slow and thoughtful. “From Within” is about letting the music take its time to emerge organically and for the composer to act only as a medium, not forcing anything. “Hidden By Shadows” is wistful, mysterious, and very moving. As I said, the electronica mix of “First Light” is as extraordinary as the solo piano version. If anything, the electronic sounds make the piece even more haunting - wind and electronic instrumental sounds add more colors and intrigue. Bravo, Josh Winiberg! Keep up the great work!

Those Nights is available from joshwinibergmusic.wordpress.com. I highly recommend it!
June 15, 2008
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