I’ve been doing a lot of long, uninterrupted work sessions lately, so I’ve been getting deep into instrumental modernist classical and new-classical work to accompany them. (“Canto Ostinato” by Simeon Ten Holt blows my mind.) Mattias Phillips‘ Provisations is a solo piano work that fits into that listening regimen: the short pieces here range from high modernist abstract (“She doesn’t like it”) to classical delicacy (“Decision”) to Liszt-esque romantic-era blitzes (“Everyday Labor”) to minimalist-influenced pieces (“Moral Hangover”).
Phillips shows off his breadth as a composer here; that diversity will help listeners who may not be as familiar with solo piano work. This album does not feel like 14 tracks of the same thing; there are obvious peaks and valleys throughout the work. The tunes themselves maintain a passionate energy. Phillips notes that these are more than impromptu improvisations but not much more; the thrill of creation is still audible. It will be interesting to see if further work from Phillips hones in on one of the many styles he puts forth here and goes longform on it, or continues in the “diverse short piece” vein. Either could be interesting. A whole album of solo piano music probably isn’t what readers of this blog usually are listening to, but I think y’all could dig this.