Jan-Dirk Platek is a German musician based in Velbert. A unique artist, Platek has spent most of his musical time with rock music and electric instruments before discovering, in 2016, the softness of contemporary classical music. The musician has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after the recording of his latest release, Dreamscapes. This medical situation has influenced him during both the composition and recording phase of the project — it is not the result of any musical ambition, but rather an opportunity for the musician to escape, explore and reflect.
This opportunity reflects in the choice of instruments; a constant duality between acoustic and electric. In “Dreamscape”, the electric keyboard first explores a 1980s atmosphere, then reinforced by following layers of sounds, but there is a very traditional element — almost baroque — that gives a twist to the piece; the layers interact with each other, questioning and answering. In “A Tiny Particle”, the piano takes the lead. But the real interest of the piece lies in the under-layer of electricity that brings dimension to the acoustic of the piano. “Flora”, is constructed around a beautiful comforting Fender Rhodes-ish sound that almost makes the one of the piano vain; indeed the low end and warmth of the instrument carries the message on its own. “G35.0” — the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Code for multiple sclerosis — starts parallelly to “Flora”, with the acoustic sounds following the electric ones, and recalls some of the atmospheres of the initial pieces. Here the contrast between the musical material and the production is very interesting, and represents a sort of compendium of all the musical ideas of Dreamscapes. Eventually, “Beautiful Lies”, is electric and acoustic, emphasizing the duality of the album — the before and the after — until all sounds finally rejoin together.
I find the concept of Dreamscapes very attractive, and Platek had plenty of structural and instrumental routes to explore. The composer affirms there was no plan when he composed the album, and some of these concepts — such as the duality between the electric and the acoustic, before and after the medical diagnosis — could have been developed further into something even more intense.
Platek is a musician that does not consider himself as anything else than a human being looking for self-expression. Although he has released a fantastic amount of music over the last few years, he does not approach music as a career and has now strategy whatsoever. However — incidentally — his music carries a logic and a progression, and in some ways depicts a portrait of the composer. Dreamscapes is one his most important releases, and carries both memories and potentialities.