- 20 Feb 20
ZRAZY PIANIST TACKLES THE BIG SUBJECTS
Arboreal is the Carole Nelson Trio’s follow-up to their 2018 debut One Day In Winter, with Nelson on piano and vocals, Cormac O’Brien on bass, and Dominic Mullan on drums. The trio format seems to provide a comfortable environment for the musicians, and they make full use of the space it allows them.
From the first listen, you get a sense of this album of Nelson originals starting local and organically growing global. Its tentativeness evokes unsettling thoughts of global warming, triumphal Trumpery, and the death of the species. It begins with the optimistic ‘Hope In The Dark’, its restlessness soon slipping into a skittish groove. ‘Beneath The Surface’ sets a hypnotic pace from the off, with touches of Dave Brubeck, but also relaxes for a meandering interlude.
As its title might suggest, ‘In The Days Of Growing Darkness’ has a gloomier feel, with O’Brien and Mullan stoking Nelson’s introspective piano ramblings. O’Brien’s bass strikes a strident tone in ‘Ar Scath a Chéile’, and the near 10-minute ‘Requiem For Lost Species’ mourns the irreparable environmental damage we’ve done. ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ – named after the Japanese custom of “forest-bathing’ – has a less leisurely gait than you might expect, but the piano again proves irresistible. The tenth and last track ‘Canopy’, with Mullan’s languorous brushes suggesting a feeling of trepidation, concludes the record on a somewhat ominous note.
On an album with a distinctively European mood, the London-born, Carlow–resident Nelson emphasises music as a means of communication and expression, rather than look-at-me exhibitionism. Her playing perhaps reflects her personality too, with a strong element of warmth cutting through the bleakness.
Listen to Carole Nelson Trio's Arboreal on Spotify!