nunu: nunu
Schole Records

Nunu Kiefer's self-titled mini-album—EP perhaps closer to the truth, given its nineteen-minute duration—is as pure a Schole recording as could be imagined. The release's seven sparse miniatures feature the Germany-based pianist playing pieces that integrate classical technique and improvisational performance into delicate solo settings of pensive character. Nunu's elegant music breathes gently and exudes tranquility, and eschews self-indulgent showboating for an understated approach wholly committed to serving the integrity of the material. Despite the recording's brevity, it's still one of many moods: whereas “Cheburashka” is resolutely mournful in tone, “Chocolat” exudes a lighthearted wistfulness when its gently swinging rhythms unfold in a carefree lilt; here too the music's relaxed and explorative inclinations are clearly evident. “Alb” captures the melancholy one experiences on a rainy day when the relentless downpour outside matches the sadness that wells up within. A noticeable change in approach occurs during “Kimidoll” when softly chiming electric piano cascades ripple alongside simmering static textures. Though no recording details are included, the presence of tape hiss suggests that the material was recorded in lo-fi manner, maybe even at the Kiefer home; regardless, the ambient sounds don't detract from this lovely recording but enhance it by heightening its intimate character.

March 2011