Vitaly Beskrovny: Imperfect
Preserved Sound

A couple of things stand out right away about Imperfect, Vitaly Beskrovny's fourth studio album on Preserved Sound: firstly, all nine of its pieces were recorded in one sitting on an upright piano at the Dnepropetrovsk Conservatory in Ukraine; secondly, the soft, raindrops-like sound produced by the piano on the recording not only resulted from his delicate touch but the strips of fabric that were attached to the instrument's strings.

Beskrovny's choice of album title is intended to openly acknowledge inherent imperfections in the music, that its melodies are relatively simple, that the instrument itself is flawed in certain ways, or that he falls short at conveying the emotion he aspires to translate into musical form (that the project's focus is on feelings is clearly borne out by song titles such as “Confusion,” “Worry,” and “Joy”). There is, however, something subtly ironic about the choice, given that there is nothing imperfect about the sincerity and honesty with which he executes the material. Put simply, there is nothing deficient about these performances.

His minimalistic and oft-ponderous pieces are undeniably pretty, and, with all of them in the two- to four-minute range, concise, too. Elegantly adorned with arpeggios, lilting rhythms, and in a small number of cases glockenspiel tinkles and Maria Radchenko's luscious cello playing, Beskrovny's classical ruminations constitute a consistently graceful and melodious set. Their minimalistic design encourages reflection, and it's not uncommon for the music to induce wistful and nostalgic responses in the listener. Such material makes it only natural for Beskrovny's name to be mentioned—legitimately so—alongside kindred spirits such as Dustin O'Halloran and Nils Frahm.

February 2016