Open – Grandbrothers – Review

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By Jack

The piano-engineer combo from Düsseldorf weave meditative beats with gorgeous piano melodies on Open, a wonderfully moody debut for dusky October nights.

Whilst the success of Ludovico Einaudi and Agnes Obel has made emotive classical piano a viable venture, it is still a huge challenge. How do you make sparse, wordless piano exciting in the 21st century?

Grandbrothers’ answer is constant evolution, an album that subtly shifts and twists over and over. Open is a restless, shape-shifting album where the only constant is the thoughtful tone and beauty of the arrangements.

The piano playing is aimed directly at the heart, and plenty of emotion is wrung out of the melodic and sensitive keys of German-Turkish pianist Sarp. His partner Vogel manipulates and pitch-shifts the keys to produce stacked harmonies, eerie tones and percussive groove. Never showy, always subtle, this album requires your attention. Easy listening it is not, but Open rewards a close listen.

The closest we get to a ‘single’ is ‘Bloodflow’, a moody cinematic track destined to soundtrack Nordic drama. In fact Open could easily have been a soundtrack to a forgotten thriller – it has a reflective cinematic quality.

This is one of my favourite albums of the year.

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