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Album Review: Filling the Emptiness
Milana Zilnik
Cover image of the album Filling the Emptiness by Milana Zilnik
Filling the Emptiness
Milana Zilnik
2013 / Milana
60 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Filling the Emptiness is the second album from Milana and presents her seventeen best piano improvisations of 2012. A Ukrainian-born pianist/composer/singer who spent many years in Israel before moving to Canada in 2008, I think Milana is well on her way to making a very big splash in the contemporary music scene. A music school graduate (with honors), Milana’s versatility and varied cultural background sing through in her music, giving her a very personal and unique sound. There are strong classical influences, but jazz, pop, rock, and new age stylings are also woven into Milana’s passionate, expressive playing and composing. Most of the tracks on Filling the Emptiness are solo piano, but several are enhanced with digital accompaniment and a few are recorded with different keyboard sounds. Far from being frothy, this is music with real substance, and I LOVE it!

Filling the Emptiness begins with “It’s About Time,” a bittersweet piece with a sense of moving forward and getting on with things. Sometimes softly reflective and sometimes a bit edgier, it’s a lovely opening. “Cloudless Thoughts” is very open and free, more ambient and atmospheric than melodic. Generous reverb gives the piece a feeling of floating in space - or perhaps on a cloud! The title track includes strings behind the piano that add another dimension to the music - sometimes edgy, sometimes silky-smooth. Although brief, “Jazzy Waltz” creates a dreamy mood with muted tones and a leisurely tempo. “Reason to Love and Hate” is another gem with great emotional impact - definitely a favorite! I also really like “If Time Could Talk,” a powerful and deeply emotional piece. Keyboards add occasional bright touches of color to the haunting melody, making this one a real standout. “Stepping on My Shadows” continues this soulful, compelling musical journey - another amazing piece that makes my fingers itch to play it! “Dancing on Black Keys” is much livelier and more playful - a delight! Anyone who knows me knows that I am usually without shoes whenever possible, so “Bare Feet” is a gentle and very light piece that speaks of freedom and enjoying the tactile pleasure of being shoeless. “Just Loved” is passion set to music - another favorite! “First Snow” is very still and quiet with occasional sparkles of light dancing on the pristine whiteness. The last three pieces on the album make an interesting triptych - the peaceful “As the Day Fades Away,” the more abstract but very atmospheric “Endless Night,” and the restless “Insomnia.” This is one great album! I can’t wait to hear more from Milana!

Filling the Emptiness is excellent from the first note to the last - such expression and emotion! If you like masterful piano improvisation that goes deep into the soul, be sure to check this one out! It is available from milana.ws, Amazon, and iTunes. VERY highly recommended!
August 19, 2013
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Kathy's Favorites: 2013
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