Lubomyr Melnyk: Fallen Trees (LP, Erased Tapes, December 2018)

Ukrainian-born pianist Lubomyr Melnyk came up with what he called ‘continuous music’ sometime in the seventies, but seems to have been having a bit of a moment recently, at least in parts through his involvement with Erased Tapes. This is my first real exposure to his work, and, boy, what an experience it is.

As far as I can tell, ‘continuous music’ means playing dense cascade of notes really fast without let-up, with a healthy usage of the sustain pedal. It’s obviously inspired by American minimalism, but it’s also quite melodic — much more so than, say, Charlemagne Palestine’s Strumming Music, which seems an obvious reference point. This record also includes a little bit of chanting (mostly from Japanese label-mate Hatis Noit) and a little bit of cello (from Anne Müller) — but it still has a much more direct purity than, say, Bing and Ruth (and, yes, I imagine it’s much more likely that David Moore is influenced by Melnyk than the other way around).

The A-side has three pieces, the sparkling Requiem for a Fallen Tree, the thunderous Son of Parasol, and the comparatively conventional Barcarolle (which even has, like, gaps between some of the notes! I have to say that I wouldn’t choose to listen to a record that’s all like this, but it’s a nice palate cleanser). The B-side is a single five-part piece called Fallen Trees, it covers a range of styles and emotions, and it’s absolutely stonking. In a just world, Melnyk would be filthy rich on the moolah from his finger sponsors. Ah well. Back in the real world, let’s hope his eighth decade brings us more records as good as this one.

I bought this from Norman Records. They call it Neo-classical / Classical / Orchestral and Drone / Kosmische / Minimal.