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Album Review: Beyond Measures & Time
Steve Rivera
Cover image of the album Beyond Measures & Time by Steve Rivera
Beyond Measures & Time
Steve Rivera
2018 / Steve Rivera
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
As much as I love Steve Rivera’s 2015 album, Dividing the Darkness, his solo piano Beyond Measures & Time overflows with that very special something that can come only from a sensitive soul at one with his piano, playing from the depths of his heart. Produced by Will Ackerman and mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios, most of the eleven original tracks are on the quiet, slightly mysterious side. Reflective and often dreamy, there is nothing flashy about this album, but the simple directness and honesty of the music wrap the listener in a warm blanket of sound that soothes and uplifts - a peaceful respite to escape to whenever wanted or needed. Even the cover artwork is beautiful and slightly mysterious!

Beyond Measures & Time begins with “Suspended Dream,” a very relaxed piece with a gentle rolling rhythm and a beautifully uncomplicated melody that just trails off at the end. “Passing Shadows” is somewhat darker and more melancholy, brightening near the end as the shadows move on and allow the sun to shine through. The first part of “Unlocking the Moments” is on the quiet, wistful side - very open and delicate. The second movement ups the energy level a bit and then returns to the first theme - very lovely! “Spectrum of Thoughts” is a favorite. Dramatic and colorful, the spectrum of the title expresses a wide variety of thoughts and feelings within the music. “Falling Closer” opens with a very tender, expressive theme that is played mostly in the upper octaves of the piano. The second theme moves into the mid-range of the keyboard and seems to be speaking from the heart - a wordless soliloquy. The third theme becomes more dramatic and intense, often crossing into the deep bass of the piano before returning to the quieter mood of the first sections to close - a favorite! “From the Beginning” has a gently rhythmic walking tempo and makes me think of being out on a very pleasant stroll on a spring afternoon. “Dark Tides” is my favorite piece on the album. Somber, poignant and emotionally powerful, the left hand plays dark rolling chords that support a very spare but heartfelt melody. It reminds me a little bit of “Delicate Force” from Dividing the Darkness, which was my favorite piece on that album. I also really love “Fragmented Dreams,” a slow beauty that is on the intense, emotional side and evokes a variety of images in my mind. “Measures & Time” closes this excellent album on a dreamy, pensive note as it fades out at the end.

Although it has been almost three years since Steve Rivera released Dividing the Darkness, Beyond Measures & Time was well-worth the wait! It is available from www.SteveRiveraMusic.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
August 26, 2018
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