Monday, 22 June 2015

Todd Garfinkle's Prayers Wishes Illusions - A Hidden Masterpiece


Try Googling for Todd Garfinkle...  a small spelling mistake in the surname, will bring you a famous dentist in the USA. But to those who knows the name, will know who he is in a musical aspect. Yours truly however, didn't really know about his musical masterpiece. I have always read about his recording techniques and how he founded MA Recordings in Japan. But nothing on his musical works until.... I received an email and phone call from the illustrious Mr. Dick Tan of 3DotEvent, regarding this unique album of Todd.

Given the opportunity to listen to some good jazz music, I did not hesitate to have a listen to the tracks on this album entitled Prayers Wishes Illusions.. 

Taken off the MA Recordings website, this album is described as -  This catalyst for the label presents a collection of lushly exotic, but simple piano and bass chamber jazz duets by MA producer and founder Todd Garfinkle with bassist Shigeo Sugiyama. Much of the music was composed for a documentary about the survival of the Japanese crane on the northern most island of Hokkaido, known for its beauty and grace. The piano used was the B√∂sendorfer Imperial at the Harmony Hall in Matusmoto, Japan. The startling cover photo is of a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka.

Now, thats a catalogue description...

What do I think of the album? As a layman, and as a music lover... I can describe it in 3 words - Therapeutic, Fluid, Masterpiece

A duet arrangement between a piano and bass chamber by Shigeo Sugiyama, which provides different level of tempo and mood, all within the same track. I have listened to 7 tracks given to me (I was however told that the CD has 8 tracks), and I was amazed of the emotional aspect that was delivered by these tracks. Never before have I experienced this coming from just 2 pieces of musical instrument. And especially it being instrumental. Emotions usually relates to lyrics and vocal delivery of an artist. Well, at least for me. But the tracks on this album just gives me the right vibes especially when I really need to wind down.

Children's Prayer and Sweet Illusion are the two tracks I like most. But all of them are just sheer genius piece of work. These tracks are not only currently residing in my main system to accompany those lovely dinners I have with my wife, but also on my trusted mobile phone and also In Car Entertainment system. Listening to the tracks make me forget about the heavy traffic that I endure each day.

How about the sound quality? This is mainly my observation based on the files given. For a live recording, this was indeed a very good quality of recording. No background noise and such detail of each instrument can be heard. Enough energy delivered by the piano and such a low extension of the bass from Shigeo. However, I do find that the volume level is a bit on a low side. I have to crank up the volume a bit more than the usual on my system, mobile phone and in car system. If I do get my hands on the physical CD, it may be different. But until then, I will have to make do with the samples that I was given.

Now, I am dying to listen to other works done by Todd.






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