Gnac with Alessandra Celletti – The Red Pages

A very enjoyable double CD package of restful, thoughtful and slightly highbrow piano music: beautifully played. And in many ways  I could leave the review there. I won’t because I need to find some way to persuade you, however poorly that this LP is worth your time. (Writing about long piano-based records in a pop & rock magazine is not easy, trust me).

The Red Pages is a collaboration that happened over two days (seemingly on the hoof) in a studio in Rome between composer and multi-instrumentalist, Mark Tranmer (who goes by the name of gnac) and pianist Alessandra Celletti. And they must have had a ball, because there’s a fair bit of music for a two day session; the first CD is around an hour in length, and the second CD is chockfull of demo’s different versions and the like. Disc one is split up into sections named The Struggle, The Lake, Gogol, Costume Drama, Slow Landscape, Lullaby, As the Fog Thickens and Halloween respectively.

Bits are very memorable indeed:  the Lake suite comprises of three beautiful evocations of slowly moving or still water. Sometimes the music is bolstered by some soft guitar runs, (when this happens there’s a very close link to the kind of stuff Popol Vuh did in the mid ‘70s). Gogol - I presume we’re all thinking about the Russian comic writer here - is a good title for the two whimsical pieces that go by his name. And the pieces for As The Fog Thickens and Halloween are tremendously sinister at times.

Some of the more enigmatically named pieces sometimes seem to have little to do with their names, however. I can’t really visualize any struggle inherent in The Struggle, and I’m struggling to equate Costume Drama with the beautifully floating pastoral tracks on here.

No matter, this is a great LP to relax to.