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Piano Singles from Quebec’s Moderna Records

Music from Julia Gjertsen, Maxy Dutcher, and Jake Lowe

The Montreal, Québec-based record label Moderna recently launched a weekly Single Series, all the tracks thus far are instrumentals that focus on piano. The series began on July 10th with “Sarah” from Jake Lowe, pleasantly reminiscent of old Windham Hill releases. Lowe, the track’s composer, plays midtempo piano, accompanied by a pair of strings: Charlotte Jacke’s cello and Ruby Paskas’ violin. The arrangement of “Sarah” is by Ross Irwin, who treats Lowe’s composition as a kind of classical-flavored pop song, with the strings filling the role of vocalist.

A week later, on July 17th, came “Blocks” from Maxy Dutcher, performing solo on a combination of piano and unidentified synthesizer. It’s a blissfully upbeat track, the piano plucking along with a percussive quality, the minimalist melody unfolding like flower blooming. The synthesizer provides a swish of background haze, and only comes fully into view as the piano part fades toward the end.

The most recent, out today, is “Gate” from Julia Gjertsen, who is only credited with piano on the track’s Bandcamp page, though the piece appears to, like Dutcher’s “Blocks,” combine piano with a synthesized accompaniment. The piano, as with the previous entries in the Moderna series, is minimally melodic, and deviations from the main theme are tightly constrained. That restraint finds its match in the affectionately percolating rhythmic track that shares acoustic space with the piano.

It’s a great series. Here’s looking forward to next Tuesday’s entry. More form Moderna at modernarecords.bandcamp.com and modernarecords.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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