Aloof Proof: Piano Text

Compared to other genres, ambient music doesn't date quickly. Eno's Music for Airports, to cite one example of many, could be released today and sound current. That same aura of timelessness pervades Aloof Proof's Piano Text which first appeared in 1994 and now—newly remastered by Michael Fibe in 2006—gets a welcome re-release on Infraction. To say it's essential listening for ambient aficionados might sound hyperbolic but in this case it's true: ambient devotees without Piano Text in their collections are depriving themselves of a supreme exemplar of the genre. The album is comprised of two pieces, “The Ghost Ship” and “The Last Leaf,” each about twenty-seven minutes long. In both, shimmering tones seemingly stretch to infinity, and flutter and chime as their celestial tendrils drift and overlap in slow, almost glacial manner. Conventional piano sounds are almost entirely absent and, in their place, reverberant fields of guitar-like sustain, and chiming sheets and washes that blend into silvery wholes. The mood is meditative and even somber in places, and the effect wholly entrancing; during the last ten minutes of “The Last Leaf,” the music slows even more and exudes a melancholic character that's extremely potent. Few production details are provided aside from noting that “Mikel Ap” (Fibe, presumably) is the one responsible for the tracks' “treatments and audiac mixture.” All praise to Infraction for rescuing this beautiful release from oblivion and exposing it to a new generation of listeners.

April 2008