Don’t you just love music that almost instantly enters your heart and soul, that from the very first note seems to connect with you? One such album for me is Masako (2012), which is also the name of the artist behind this fine release.
Masako is a professional pianist, born in Japan who now lives in New England, northeastern US. Masako is her first solo release. When reviewing piano music, it often feels natural to speak in terms of seasonal colors. The songs on this album make me think of strong, vibrant autumn colors – just like the below cover – although there are a few from the brighter side of the palette too. Songs like Ottauquechee River and Remembrance Part 2 have the life and freshness of summer.
The album was recorded at Will Ackerman‘s studio – and is beautifully well-balanced. I was a bit surprised to hear a quite audible hiss of the microphone on some of the tracks (in this age of ultra high recording quality and digital sound processing), but found that this actually gives the album a warm atmosphere. It doesn’t have that “impossible close to the piano” sound that many piano recordings have these days. Mr. Ackerman has as usual done an amazing job in the studio. The album has a great rhythm, and can be used for both relaxation and exercise.
It is not unusual for professional artists to release great albums when they for the first time go solo. But Masako is a very strong first release, even in this context. It tells of an artist that we can expect more great things from in the future. But before Masako has a new album ready there are plenty on her current album for us to enjoy.
Masako is simply a fantastic release, filled with colors and life; the first listen feels like the start of a long friendship.
91 / 100 – see how we rate music here.
See an interview with Will Ackerman regarding the recording of this album: