2023 / Tim Neumark
Review by Kathy Parsons
Relax is the tenth album from pianist/composer Tim Neumark (starting with his 2007 debut, Biography). Subtitled "Background music for restaurants, spas, and bedtime," the twelve original pieces are all titled "Relax" followed by the key signatures they are composed in. Intended as music for relaxation and/or to help induce sleep, there are few dynamic changes in the music, and all are very quiet and uncomplicated. Many of Tim's past releases have had their quieter, more peaceful moments, but this is music with a specific purpose, and I think Tim has succeeded with his intention exceptionally well. The album was mixed and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at his Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ, and the sound quality is excellent (as always!).
Quoting Tim Neumark:
"In the fall of 2019, I was standing in line at a Chinese restaurant, waiting to pick up my order. The repeating melody of the background music caught my attention, and I thought, 'hey, what if I wrote some simple repeating melodies and made an album like that?' A few weeks later I released the track, 'Asian Restaurant Background Music #1' as a single (this was renamed 'Relax: C Minor' for this album).... I gradually wrote these pieces over the next year....The pieces on this album include much more repetition than my typical compositions, and every piece begins quietly and almost never varies."
So, essentially, calling this album "a real snooze" is a very positive comment! However, I want to say that I don't find the music boring or uninspired and really enjoyed proofing the sheet music as Tim released the pieces as singles. Everyone needs some music to relax with from time to time (or more often!), and with all of the turmoil in the US as well as around the world right now, the timing seems perfect for an album like this. I might also mention that Tim included a warning on the back cover of the album: "Do not listen to this album while driving!" as it could easily lull someone - especially if they are already tired - to doze off while behind the wheel.
I usually go through and mention specifics about several of the tracks on the albums I review, but that doesn't seem necessary with this album since all twelve tracks are quiet, soothing and a pleasure to listen to.
Relax is available from Tim's website (CDs and downloads), Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and streaming sites including Spotify. Printed songbooks and PDFs of the sheet music for the album are also available from Tim's website and are reviewed here on MainlyPiano.com. Check 'em out!
August 23, 2023