Minimalism is Alive and Well with Lubomyr Melnyk’s Rivers and Streams

No piece of work…no piece will come close this year to what Ukranian composer and pianist Lubomyr Melnyk has done with his latest album Rivers and Streams.

Flowing and fluid like its title suggest, Melnyk has created a tour de force of superbly overflow of melodies and sympathetic resonances that are gushing with vibrance at every turn.

Right from the LP’s opening piece “Parasol,” Melnyk turns his hands into splendid blend of water and wind that glides over lush landscapes of harmonies. Melnyk avoids overemphasizing the keys to create anything but serenity, resulting in a 13 minute painting of beauty.

Melnyk continues the tone for “The Pool of Memories,” albeit a bit more on the sullen side to a higher a degree. The track is a perhaps the least far-reaching piece Melnyk has pulled off, which in this case is a compliment considering the tight control he presents on himself to stay within a realm of reasonable emotion.

There is a degree of concern felt in “Ripples in a Water Scene,” Melnyk’s most uplifting piece on Rivers and Streams, but the album’s tone of nature and earth keep the piece from becoming an all-too predictable emo-a-thon.  Melnyk ensures the listeners on a passage of time but without any of the redundancy one comes to expect of minimalist records.

In closing his LP, Melnyk incorporates more of a larger soundscape canvas on The Amazon, broken into two parts: The Highlands and The Lowlands.  While The Highlands is more of a highlight, both are equally powerful, with strong jungle-ish undertones to create a distinctively 90s, yet bellowing push to the ears.

 

If there is any downfall to Rivers and Streams…it’s that it eventually it empties out into another basin.  The journey of emotion felt on Melnyk’s latest work is so profoundly captivating, one doesn’t realize the movement of time in the nurturing environment he has conceived.  Utter words can’t describe the beauty of this record.

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(Review by Carolina Hernandez)

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