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Album Review: Chansons sous la Pluie
Mason Stephenson and Blue Spiral Records
Cover image of the album Chansons sous la Pluie by Mason Stephenson and Blue Spiral Records
Chansons sous la Pluie
Mason Stephenson and Blue Spiral Records
2021 / Blue Spiral Records
20 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Chansons sous la Pluie is the debut EP from British pianist/composer Mason Stephenson. The title of the album translates to "Songs Under the Rain" and Stephenson's goal with the four original tracks was to create "a small collection of pieces that would be perfect for those rainy days where you just want to relax." Stephenson cites Frederic Chopin as the biggest influence on his music, and that influence is very apparent in two of the pieces on the album; Ludovico Einaudi and Yann Tiersen are also mentioned as influences.

In a recent interview with Tinker magazine, Mason described Chansons sous la Pluie as: "... a collection of pieces that I feel truly connects to me as a person. I can be quite a misery at my best of times and I love the whole feel of melancholy so Chansons sous la Pluie to me reflects the beauty of a rainy day. I could happily sit there and watch the rain all day to some melancholy piano music.... I find it peaceful..... In the future I hope to capture different themes of mood but as this is my first collection of pieces I wanted to create something that truly relates to me. I suppose Chansons sous la Pluie is almost a piece of myself I offer to you."

Chansons sous la Pluie begins with "Danse lente," a piece whose melody resembles Chopin's "Prelude in E Minor Op. 29 #4" in places and then moves on. A slow, melancholy waltz, it is both beautiful and deeply emotional. "Prelude de la Lune" is much darker and more ominous. It begins with heavy chords in the bass of the piano and a simple but despairing melody. In the second section, the bass chords move up the piano keyboard a bit and become a flowing accompaniment to the melody before returning to the deep bass until the end of the piece. "Nocturne de la Lune" also refers to the Chopin "Prelude in E Minor" in places with short sections and the mournful quality of that piece interwoven throughout Stephenson's own beautiful composition. The title track has a slow, free waltz rhythm that resembles the sound of rain falling. The heartfelt music expresses feelings of solitude and longing and is my favorite piece on the album.

What a wonderful first album Chansons sous la Pluie is! I can't wait to hear what Mason Stephenson does next! The album and a couple of singles are available from Blue Spiral Records, Amazon, Apple/iTunes, Spotify and other music outlets. Thumbs up!
April 22, 2021