Graceful piano finisher...
I'm still listening to ONE MINUTE OLDER at least once per day and becoming more impressed with it each time, feeling it slowly climb my mental list for 2015 AotY. Like a lot of good albums, my listens are split between times where I run through the whole thing, in just a sort of stunned awe at the diversity and contrast and evolution and all that, and times where I get stuck on one particular track and listen to it obsessively on repeat. Since there are 50 tracks, each with this potential, and my addiction to a track is usually limited by total time spent listening to it, and not number of repeats, this has proven to be a very time consuming album. I finally got around to downloading ANOTHER ONE MINUTE OLDER, a companion with another 20 such tracks, but I don't think I'm really ready for that yet.
Lately the song I've been fixated on is this closer, Hiromi Kurosaki's so aptly named "Afternoon". After post-rock, IDM, neoclassical, metal, and whatever the hell Ryoma Madeda makes, it feels like nothing could close it properly but this elegant, simple, solo piano piece. It's pieces like this that make me want to travel back in time and sit down with my child self and convince him to take piano lessons. But then I think about how an even older version of me would be content to arrive right now, with the same message, and it's like welllllllll, what can you do? Just listen to this a few more times and indulge in, if nothing else, the beautiful dream.
I think this piece really highlights the appeal of the sub-2 minute "gimmick" of the album. Well, I think all of them do, but this is a nice clear example. Think about how you would expand this to a regular song length... you could like... make some parts loop? That might be okay, but you'd lose that sense of ever-forwardness that it currently has, that it's all in one move, all in one idea. So maybe you just extend it into a longer sort of single arc? Well, look at the dynamic work in the song, it's crazy! Not only is no major melodic section repeated, but no dynamic shift is repeated either! I think. Or at least it gives me that impression. So by elongating it, and having to repeat or even just one-up any particular crescendo, development, retreat... even by retreading the ideas of those things... you devalue one of them. Every note in this song feels special, there is no part I especially like or that I feel is especially key. It's like... just one single entity. It's perfect.