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Album Review: Passage
Michael Logozar
Cover image of the album Passage by Michael Logozar
Michael Logozar
2018 / Michael Logozar
40 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Passage is Michael Logozar’s first album using the muting technique of placing felt fabric between the hammers and strings inside the piano. Used fairly extensively by pianist/composers in Europe as well as by Chad Lawson and a few other artists here in the US, this method changes the sound of the piano and allows more of the internal workings of the instrument to be heard - pedal “whooshes,” the sound of the action, etc. The sound varies quite a bit depending on the condition of the piano and how heavy the fabric between the strings and hammers is. With Logozar’s set-up, his Yamaha grand piano has a somewhat percussive, harp-like sound, so the new pieces he composed for the album utilize that quality. Just for comparison, Logozar’s second album with the muting technique, Kaleidoscope, used a much lighter cotton flannel between the hammers and the strings and is not as muted as Passage. It’s an effect that I really like on both albums. The twelve tracks include nine new pieces and three new arrangements of previously-recorded tracks. Two pieces have experimental effects and several have “live” (as opposed to synth or keyboard) violin and cello.

Passage begins with “Timelapse,” a lively piece that seems to spin and dance. Using lots of reverb plus violin and cello, it has a kind of otherworldly feel that is both warm and inviting. I suspect that in certain passages, the sounds are layered somewhat to create more depth. It’s a great beginning that let’s you know right away that this isn’t a “typical” (at least so far!) solo piano album from Michael Logozar! The title track allows much more sound from the internal workings of the piano. The music is bittersweet and very gentle and also includes string washes, but it’s the atmospheric effects of the wooden action and pedal sounds that make it hypnotic. “Midnight in the Garden” is a beautiful reworking of the piano solo from Logozar’s 2017 Starlight, one of my favorites from that album. It’s interesting how the piano still has a light and playful quality while the cello and violin are much more grounding. I really like this version, too! “Water Lily” has the delicate softness of those lovely flowers and a slightly Asian feeling. “Timeless” is another favorite. Cello and violin bring a heartbreaking poignance to the simple but deeply emotional piano. “Meandering” first appeared on Logozar’s 2016 album, Wonder. This arrangement is a bit more wistful. The addition of a beautiful cello part can do that! “First Wings” comes from the 2014 Dreams From Afar. Strings are added to this one, too, but more as subtle tonal color rather than adding harmony or counterpoint. “Interlude” is tranquility set to music. Very open and freely-flowing, it’s also a favorite. “The First Light” brings this quiet and understated album to a close with a gentle but heartfelt piece that also includes cello and violin - very sparing but so expressive!

I would say that Michael Logozar’s experiments with muting and adding effects to his piano music have been highly successful, and I look forward to future experiments as well! Passage is available from www.MichaelLogozar.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
November 14, 2018
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