Peace Revolution!
Binkelman's Corner, by Bill Binkelman, 3/23/2008

The title of this album presents an interesting paradox, don't you think? The idea of a revolution of peace? Of course, peace is fairly radical notion these days. But why not revolt by working toward a more peaceful world? This leads us to pianist Louis Landon's main purpose behind not just his seventh album, Peace Revolution! but all of his music in general as well. As the liner notes state, "Louis Landon's mission is to create a peaceful world by writing and performing music from the heart." You have to admire that as a person's goal, don't you?

Containing a good variety of tunes in regards to tempo, mood, and even length (four tracks clock in at over six minutes), the recording will find the most favor with fans of solo piano music which is structured around refrains and accessible melodies, as opposed to minimalism or abstraction. Yes, there are moments when Landon subscribes to the less is more philosophy of sparseness of notes, but overall this is an album for those who like their solo piano music rich and full, not stark. Engineering, by Paul Hirsch, is excellent. The piano's clarity and presence is spot on. I detected neither any overt brightness nor muddiness and volume was well-modulated.

While taken as a whole I wouldn't call Peace Revolution! a particularly "quiet" album, it has its share of serene and peaceful moments, some of which are dipped in reflective melancholy while others are bathed in the sepia-toned glow of fond memories recalled.

The sprightly opening track, Camelot, ushers in the CD with a jaunty mood and playful melody. Early on, Landon shows that he is more than capable of playing both soft and with nuance as well as letting 'er rip and spicing things up with verve and sassiness. Sundance starts off more subdued but not overly so and also elicits a soft sensation of nostalgia. Skye's Song transitions from its softer start to pick up a little steam and drama in the middle, but quiets down again as the song concludes. Ancestors presents a stately mood, almost serious if you will, amidst a lot of the lighter fare here. Instead of being jarring, I found the change of pace to be refreshing. This cut is followed by another emotional mood about-face offering, Elegant Lady a song which evokes the atmosphere of a 1930's upscale nightclub with a hint of torch song smolder and a dash of glitzy diamond-sequin style. Amalfi Drive swings from low-key melancholy to breezy jazziness while the seven minute title track is surprisingly modest in its emotional weight with only brief peaks of drama. Given its title, I was pleasantly surprised by the unexpectedly nuanced and gentle Pursuit of Happiness, and I also liked the mid-song jazz riffing on Golden Glow, which reminded me of Timothy Davey's music.

Throughout Peace Revolution! Landon displays both his technique and artistry, "painting" across a wide canvas and making use of many different moods, tempos, and styles. The album may be a "quiet" revolution, but it's one that should prove worthwhile "joining" for fans of new age solo piano music, provided they are not addicted to Winston-like minimalism, because the melodies here are seldom sparse.

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