OK, there are professional connoisseurs of classical music who would probably vomit a soup of musical notes were they to read this assertion but I find Mark Springer’s beautifully soothing piano music to be of a likeness to the work of Debussy. I recently went to a concert in the Barbican commemorating 100 years since the death of the avant-guard French composer and I remember it being said that the odd thing about Debussy is that you can come away from listening to his music without remembering one damn thing. Nothing sticks in your mind and yet his music is captivating. I can say the same thing for Springer’s album Diving. It is a warm bath of soothing piano meanderings, it registers somewhere beyond the conscious mind, you can feel some part of your inner most psyche appreciating, luxuriating and rotating its shoulders in a very satisfied manner to the music, as if the sun was shining on its back. Diving is meditative and restful. The other thing is that whilst warm the album is also full of incertitude, it keeps taking twists and turns, which means it is fascinating as well as being pleasant. Its these endless twists and turns, too much for the mind to register consciously, that makes it utterly forgettable, but forgettable in the best possible way.
Springer says of his music, “When I’m travelling from venue to venue, and from piano to piano, I throw myself into the experience, just like the swimmer. I am trying to challenge my audience’s perception of what a piano concert is and the surprises that can lead to a completely new work composed in that moment. Occasionally, as in the film, this can actually lead to conflict, anxiety and disquiet, as nobody knows what will happen next. My aim is to explore and find things beyond the habits and patterns that all musicians can fall into, while trying to extend the possibilities of what an instrument can do. I try to reflect the atmosphere of each particular room and even the spirit of the city and country in which the performances take place and channel these feelings. The surprise of working like this is that after a concert you’re really excited to hear the music played back as you actually have very little idea of what you made until you listen to the recording and begin to understand what happened!”
Does that make it jazz?
Mark Springer’s album Diving is released on the 25th May 2018.