Premiere: Vicissitude by Cameron Brooks / by Sergio Díaz De Rojas

By Sergio Díaz De Rojas

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In a world where so many self-proclaimed artists publish exceedingly unimaginative and shallow piano-based albums almost every week with no apparent interest about anything but Spotify streams, it is always a pleasure to come across record labels like Subtempo, so carefully curated, and that understand the necessity to take some time to find the right artist and release.

Cameron Brook, their most recent signing, is only 21 years old but already composes music able to touch the deepest corners of our souls, easily compared to the beautiful works of Daigo Hanada, Zinovia Arvanitidi or even Keaton Henson’s highly acclaimed Romantic Works. His upcoming EP, Vicissitude, is a very innocent but nevertheless profound, intimate and, most importantly, sincere collection of pieces revolving around the piano, also including violin, viola, and violoncello, that were brought to life while he was recovering from depression.

Vicissitude, the title of the EP, is the main idea behind this record: change and unforeseen circumstances, it speaks to the passage from darkness into the light and the ongoing journey to get there. The music was born from a dark place and the compositions and the instruments brought light to a much needed time of personal struggle. The result is a deep and piercing emotive sound.

The opening track is an over-six-minutes-long journey of solo piano that gets more interesting as minutes pass thanks to Brook’s skillful ways to introduce new elements. There are a few performance mistakes that would normally break the illation of music but that, on this very particular case, add a raw feeling to the piece and don’t bother me at all. To Glimpse and Hope, the second and third track respectively, count with the participation of Brook’s friends on the strings, appearing at the right moments in the right ways, offering us the most optimistic moments in the whole EP, as the titles imply. The closing track, Final Solace, goes back to solo piano and invite us to a more melancholic and nostalgic world, but not in a sad way. On the contrary, it is about the good kind of memories, the ones you keep in your heart forever.

Vicissitude is the ideal introduction into a music scene that loudly begs for more honest and genuine artists, and here at piano and coffee we can only thank Subtempo and Cameron for this touching release.

 Picture by Ben Brooke

Picture by Ben Brooke