Neal Gardner: We Are Infinite

gard_infinI was listening to Neal Gardner’s We Are Infinite in my day-job office, as I tend to do with review material, and a coworker who stopped into my office said, “Is that classical music?” I said no, but realized afterward that what I could have said was, “Sort of…at the moment.” There is a certain classical influence at play in some of the music here, but there is also electronic minimalism, hints of lounge, and spacemusic influences. The album changes faces several times, and each new look is equally attractive. The approaches can be sparse, as with “Horizon on the Shore Eternal,” with its forlorn piano melody picking its way slowly across intermittent and intriguing slow tides of wayward sound. Or as with “Requiem,” where Gardner drops hammer-heavy, funereal chords on the listener while string pads soften the background. Weighty and sad, yet beautiful. (And here’s part of where that classical tone comes in.) But they can be uptempo and playful as well, like the tenuous pizzicato that forms the base of “Memories Fade, Dreams Recursive,” over which Gardner lays another pleasantly simple piano melody. Breaks and drops change up the pace, accenting the feel and the flow. They can be hushed as the flow is steered briefly out to space with the title track. Textbook spacemusic touches filter in here, starshine pads tracing horizon-to-horizon arcs. Whatever mode he enters, Gardner hits it spot-on. We Are Infinite retains a nice emotional depth and connection to the listener through its shifts. You never doubt that you’re in good and capable musical hands. The change-ups make sense and keep things fresh and interesting. Gardner’s piano playing is fantastic and it’s a real pleasure when it takes the lead. The good news is, everything else is as well done. A great release that deserves all the repeat play it’s going to get.

Available from Bandcamp.

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