Andrewskij: Five Pieces, Five Minutes

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The 2017 debut album from this Stockholm-based pianist and multi-instrumentalist received positive reviews and suggested to some an in-part deconstructive take on aspects of both folk music and the legacy of legendary Swedish pianist Jan Johansson. I heard these five new pieces, each weighing in at around a minute, through their crisply constructed shape-shifting black and white video presentations on YouTube (apparently, the maximum length of a video on Instagram is 60 seconds).

The idea of such a distilled approach might conjure thoughts of Webern, but consonant traces of wistfully turned cinematic atmosphere, rather than any non-tonal serialism, are the order of the day here. Andrewskij can move adroitly from the sombre to the playful, with a crystal-clear touch on concert grand and a judicious, classically inflected feeling for a range of both pianistic accent and register and additional instrumental colour.

There are waltz measures and Francophile overtones; if a couple of the pieces are more assertive, or rhythmically dynamic, than others, the overall mood remains one of elegantly chiselled space, of fragmented reverie and reflection.

Sample “The Whistle”, another YouTube piece, this time in cartoon-like colour, for a lengthier (c. two-and-a half minutes) and overtly humorous example of this unusual musician’s take on things – this time in crisply drum-driven marching mode and with its “virtual” Andrewskij quartet bringing Jacob Collier distantly to mind.

Is this music jazz? I would hazard a guess that for many a JJ listener, the answer would be “no” – but as Andrewskij thought it worth advertising in JJ I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that there’s certainly a jazz inflection or two to be enjoyed. Enjoy them when you can.

Discography
Pieces 1 – 5 (4.83)
Andrewskij (p, acn, glockenspiel, xylophone). Stockholm, 2018.
andrewskij.com