Over the last ten years, the Greek producer and composer Hior Chronik has released multiple albums and collaborations with some of the most important record labels of indie classical. With 7K!, 1631 Recordings or Kitchen. Label, he took opportunities to alternate between the worlds of acoustic and electric. With his latest release, Piano Works, it is for the musician a return to the piano: in its purest form, intimate and simple.
The main observation on the first listening of Piano Works, is the almost constant presence of the cello alongside the piano. The velvet sound is of course the one of Aaron Martin, a regular contributor to Hior Chronik’s works. Rather than treated melodically, the cello is here to provide a canvas for the piano: numerous examples include “A Piece of a Living Heart”, “As I Was Moving Backwards” or “Find Your Place Among the Stars”. However, the participation of the cello also varies from reflecting the piano melody in an ethereal way — “I Count More on the Things You Ignore” — to adding a percussive element — “I Count More on the Things You Ignore”. Piano Works is therefore not only about the piano, and in fact a very little amount of pieces focuses solely on the instrument.
All the pieces of Piano Works are miniatures: small fragments of simplicity reduced to their essential and often balancing towards the ballade or the nocturne. Some of them are descriptive, such as “Float On”, where one can hear the movement of the waves carrying over, some are more cinematic, such as “The Withering Ghost”, that is based on pianistic patterns and interplays of textures. Others explore polyrhythmic cells, such as “Burden of a Fall” and “Beyond Words”. Often the melodic ideas are simple, a descending scalar shape, or a half-step downward move such as in “Dissolving Heart” and “Ashes of a Sad World”.
Two pieces that illustrate the main quality of the album quite well are “When It All Comes Back to You”, which sounds familiar — it almost feels like unconsciously knowing where to go and yet never getting there; and “Walking Around with No Purpose”, which through its almost improvised approach depicts a clear image of the musician playing around with his instrument.
Piano Works was born of Hior Chronik’s move from his hometown in Athens to Berlin. It is the unknown and the unfamiliar, that triggered a wish to find comfort in composing for the piano.
The album is a compilation in the vein of the recently released MMXIX by Angus McRae: a collection of pieces full of simplicity and honesty, and although at times sounding similar, it is because they reflect the intentions of the musician: an invitation to his intimate world, a small room, an instrument and a couple of musical ideas…