Friday, June 11, 2021

Wanderlust By Masako





Written by

Steve Sheppard


Waiting for a Masako release is like waiting for Christmas day to arrive, you know the present is going to be good, but you can’t wait to open it anyway, as you know that inside will lay some of the most pristine and soothing music of the piano genre there is, so we have to wait no longer as her latest offering is upon us and entitled Wanderlust.

Wanderlust can be described as a desire to travel, when one gets itchy feet and wants to move on. I can imagine that there is a lot of that right now, but we can now let the gentle and calming performances by the artist take us there vicariously perhaps. We start with a short form opener called Lily of the Valley, this solo starting point is the perfect door opening composition to an open book of musical beauty.

As one who is lucky enough to live near the sea, I can completely relate to this track, one that is named Ocean and You. This is truly a superb performance, the depth of presentation here is as immense as the vast ocean itself, the strings and multi-instrumental flavours just create an even richer palette for us all to enjoy.

I simply adore natural sounds being used to enhance a musical creation, I do it myself, it can create a wonderfully redolent arrangement, and Masako has done this here by composing the track Wintering Birds.  The mournful string section and the ethereal vocalisations all go to manifest a simply beautifully reflective opus indeed.

The memory palace of this next piece called Forestology is a sublime arrangement, one that inspires many moments of wonderful times in woodlands for me personally; these happy thoughts are further enriched by this very composition, it is also one that is a perfect example for any students wishing to understand further, build progression within a composition. The smoothness of presentation by Masako here is something truly special and very serene.

We touch the half way marking point now and as we do so we come across the title track itself, of course I am refereeing to Wanderlust. This performance by the artist has some splendid moments of a reflective nature, also an increase in power and intensity, when perhaps one feels like moving on again, this is exactly what the title header should be all about, a perfect overall description of the whole project.

We can now make our way down the hill of the release perhaps to Lake Willoughby. The brass segment here was sublime at manifesting a reflective mood, and the natural beauty of this area is brilliantly portrayed by the passionate and heart felt narrative of Masako’s piano. There is a slight change in intensity here that pulls back with such style as well, and I wondered, if ever music created something so picturesque, then this must be the track that does so.

The multi-instrumental collective that lays a tapestry of tone here, manifested a wonderful sense of bright thoughts and deep remembrances on the composition Shades of Memory. A flowing onward energy can be found here, the subtle use of brass and strings were simply delightful to heighten the piano to even greater glory.

Diversity is our next track and here we have a tranquil and an easy on the mind solo performance by the artist. A crafted presentation indeed by Masako and also with a remarkable sense of emotional energy too. This is one of those pieces that simply drift in and around you.

We now drift into the calmer yet deeper waters of the album and as we do so we come across a track piece that is transcendent and called Year of Love. This is a song that is also quite haunting in structure, made even more so by the angelic vocalisations and wind instrumentation contained within, Masako connects the dots between the piano with instrumentation genre and new age with utter ease.

The almost symphonic beginning to this next piece was so charming and deeply moving, and entitled Aquifer. There is a delicacy here on our penultimate offering that is so mystical and magical; here is a composition that you could easily get lost within, the repeating motif from the artist drives the arrangement with such a purpose, that one could imagine water bursting from a spring and trickling down over rocks and woodlands, the most inventive and crafted track of the release indeed.

Our last road home comes courtesy of Masako’s creation named Wisdom of the Heart. The perfect ending track indeed, its energetic and empowering tones were mixed sublimely, with a touch that was as crafted as a master painter putting the last dabs of paint upon the canvas, and of course in doing so, wraps up this wonderful album with the most colourful piece you would ever wish to conclude with.

Wanderlust is another album in the ever growing catalogue of brilliant releases created by pianist Masako. Her charm filled performances are all so beautifully played and performed, that it really is a simple pleasure to allow yourself to enjoy these timeless reveries and lose yourself in its beauty. Wanderlust is without doubt an album created by a sparkling talent, and that talent is called Masako.

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