I’m going to be honest here: I don’t listen to a lot of instrumental piano music. Like, almost none at all. It’s not that I don’t like it. Really, on the rare occasion that I do listen to it, I really like it. A lot. That said, I couldn’t tell you who composed what, or whose piano style is new or inventive or anything like that. I am a layman.
So take this all into consideration when I say that Carlos Cipa’s “The Monarch and the Viceroy” is pretty fantastic. I can’t really speak for his technique, or for his songwriting ability, but Carlos Cipa manages to take feelings, not just moods, but the whole range of things that come with an emotional landscape, and play them on his piano.
For instance, the opening track, ‘Perfect Circles’, evokes a cold winter day. The wind is blowing, and the “narrator” so to speak, is alone. He or she isn’t unnecessarily distraught or anything, just mildly sad, yet hopeful. And that’s just track one.
‘Human Stain’ has a warmer sound, yet it still makes me think of winter. I don’t know if years of watching the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special” have cemented the piano as a wintery instrument, or if Cipa intended this to be a cold album. On this track, the mood goes from hopeful to conflicted, from content to agitated, and back again.
As I said, I don’t have much experience with piano music, so it’s hard for me to compare it to anything else, though the aforementioned ‘Perfect Circles’ as well as ‘Morning Love’, kind of remind me of Bear McCreary’s work on the “Battlestar Galactica” score. in other words, it’s great.
So, I may not know too much about instrumental piano music, but I know enough to say that Carlos Cipa’s “The Monarch and the Viceroy” is pretty good stuff, and even if you’re not into this kind of thing, you might want to give it a try.