Tim Oksanen - Tim Oksanen
On the other hand, if the piano is in the hands of someone less competent, then it can be awful to listen to. Anyone who has heard a Richard Clayderman album will know what I mean. So, with Tim Oksanen's self-titled album, an album of piano works which could broadly be defined as modern classical, the success will rest squarely on the ability of Mr Oksanen to make his hands express his feelings through the medium of the piano.
Perhaps wisely, he has chosen to embellish the simple piano and his music features a range of sound effects, synthesisers and percussion. There are also voices, occasionally, which adds a further layer to the mix. Now while all this could contribute to a Clayderman-esque sound, Oksanen avoids it by the very simple means of putting his soul into the music. Although clearly a virtuoso, he has chosen not to turn the album into a series of disjointed piano concertos, but allows his talent to draw the remaining instrtuments around him, to add emphasis, to add subtlety and to add texture when necessary. At no point odes he feel the need to break out into some long, and potentially tedious, solos.
Oksanen brings a variety of influences to his music. "Lost in an Age" is a track which reminds me of Bach, and yet immediately after it is a less complex piece, from the prespective of the piano, which could easily have formed part of a Bruce Hornsby track. If nothing else, Oksanen is making sure that his music remains fully grounded.
The album is one of those albums which, if you allow it, will draw you in slowly. I would caution against trying to listen too hard, at least at first. My first experience was to allow it to come to me from the speakers as I was doing something else. A few more listens and I began to welcome its approach. Despite the often melancholy feel the album has to it, such as the opening track, "The Joanne", I found it a warm experience, akin to coming home to a hearty wood fire after an autumn afternoon walking the windswept hills of the South Downs. It is an album you feel you get used to very easily, and yet still retains the ability to surprise you with elements you have not noticed on previous listens.
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