AWAKE TO DREAM

London, 2020

Reis Taylor Dixon is a British composer and pianist based in Birmingham. A late-riser and partially self-taught, the musician revealed himself after the discovery of the music of Italian composer Einaudi; a musical figure that appears through different forms in the composer’s latest project, Awake to Dream. Released with the Italian label Blue Spiral Records, it is an album that is double-sided, both in the musician’s artistic intentions and its creative output. 

 

Einaudi is one of the main sources of inspiration for Dixon. Many of the pieces of Awake to Dream resemble pastiches of the composer’s music and feature several of his musical traits — such as the characteristic ornaments. “Farewell Sisters: Abbie and Rebekka”, “Epilogue for a White Rose” or “Forgiveness, One Day…” are all great examples of the composer’s tributes to Einaudi. Nevertheless, some very pleasant melodies emerge from the pieces and indicate an intention to move away from clichés, such as in “Injongo - Brighter Days Ahead”.

This first group of pieces are well balanced with other pieces of interest and originality. Some miniatures, such as “The World I Had to Give”, some interesting production treatments with “Drifting Through Space”  — and its excess of reverb giving the piece a wide sonic dimension —, or more innovative pieces such as the deconstructed “Writing My Message to Life”.

The most interesting piece of the album is surely “Breathe, the Year Is 1991”, which is very Haushka-esque and recalls merry-go-rounds, lullabies and retro synths. This piece, which opens the album, is ultimately complemented by Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” — and a prelude to it, “A Sense of Belonging” — which acts as a symbolic encore for Awake to Dream, and provides a very convincing performance from Dixon. 

 

It is often said that what matters the most is how it starts and how it ends. And Dixon has understood it quite well; Awake to Dream opens and closes on some of the most interesting, and perhaps surprising material of the album. The composer states that he feels this release as being only the beginning of it, and it is a positive start and display of existing craftsmanship. Furthermore, it appears as a very honest and authentic expression of thoughts and feelings. The next step for the composer is to find artistic originality and to move away from his models in order to develop his own musical voice.

 

© 2021 Doug Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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