To fly is to be free. It is the ultimate form of travelling. John Otott’s Flying Machines (2011) is a collection of songs that all have the boldness and attitude of the aviation pioneers. This high-flying atmosphere is also, interestingly enough, perfect for thinking and creative work. With this album on your ear, your mind can fly anywhere…
John Otott is a multi-instrumentalist and composer, and he has performed with artists as Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny fame), Latin star Tania Maria, Grammy award winning sax player Gato Barbieri and Thelonious Monk Jr. Flying Machines was nominated for Solo Piano Album of the Year by Solopiano.com, and it broke into the NAR Top 100 chart (#65) and two tracks off the CD made it into the iTunes Canada TOP 25 for New Age music. To learn more about this great artist, check out our recent interview with John here.
The album starter, Falling Softly, is a magnificent song. It has a fantastic build-up, and the theme is simply unforgettable. It is a great example of John Otott’s style; the careful start followed by a very powerful theme. I think that you can hear that John also is a drummer by the way he is playing the piano. Most pianist tend to be too careful with their piano, which make music less interesting. Or to use an aviation metaphor: flying machines need a lot of energy to take off. It is the same with music.
Next song out is Emerald Bay. The melody paints a beautiful picture of the bay and the surrounding area, with John Otott’s usual attention to details. Reflection might sound like a slow piece, but it is actually a quite fast song. I think the song is more about doing than quietly thinking. Title aside; it is a magnificent song.
The following songs are more contemplative in style. I love the elegant September’s Promise and Let it Rain, where each note is like the sound of a raindrop – and suddenly, thanks to Otott’s playing style, it is pouring rain. Or at least it sounds that way. It is a very nice effect. The two last tracks, Remembrance and Serendipity round off the album nicely. It is quite short album (about 25 minutes), so don’t be surprised when you find yourself searching for the replay button.
In short: Flying Machines by John Otott is an amazing collection of piano melodies. It is great both as background music and for active listening.
It is true; music is like a flying machine. It can take you anywhere.
Score: 92/100 – See how I rate music here.
Check out the album on John Otott’s homepage.
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