I am not sure what to say about this man. I think his playing speaks more about his gift than I ever could. And it’s in his piano pieces that I am absorbed. Not so much when his work employs the use of vocals. In a similar way to Olafur Arnalds recent work, the vocals detract – for me – from the incredible technical abilities of the man. Like Frahm and Arnalds, he is signed to Erased Tapes but unlike Frahm and Arnalds he is a much more complex pianist. Not to say the other two are not technically gifted – Frahm, at least, is an incredible pianist – but where they seek space within their music, at times Melnyk’s work is suffocating with its intensity and unrelenting pace and nature. And it’s in these moments that we see the true genius of the man. Gifted wouldn’t come close to doing him justice. The continuous waves of sound he creates are hypnotic, transporting you away from real life and in to a world he has created for us to exist in for the duration of his work. It’s spell binding. Which is of course, the intention. His style sets him apart from his contemporaries and yet, sits him firmly in the same bracket. To see this man live would be an incredible experience. One I hope will be possible in the not too distant future. See for yourself.
Dustin O’Halloran may be better known these days for his work as one half of A Winged Victory for the Sullen. Fair play to him too because the duo have garnered a reputation for creating wonderful soundscapes laced with piano over the course of their two albums to date. It’s hardly surprising that such attention fell upon the pair though given their respective backgrounds as musicians. And it is in his solo guise that I first discovered his wonderful piano compositions.
Reading about guys like O’Halloran does make me feel like a fraud. Like him, I started playing piano at the age of 6/7 but unlike him my thoughts turned to grunge and being cooler than I ever was whilst he was off composing his own piano pieces, enrolling in music school and developing his skill and craft. My limitations as a pianist I am acutely aware of, so I love to listen to the beauty created by people like O’Halloran and tap in to the idea that more often than not, it’s the beauty you create and not the technical gift that you own. With O’Halloran it’s obviously both and I adore his work as a solo artist. Yes, he’s moved on and A Winged Victory do appear to be the focus of his work with his last solo album surfacing in 2011. However, as a pianist his work as a solo artist, as well as AWVFTS is stunning and something you should definitely invest in.