‘Silent Observer’ proves a most appropriate title for this wonderful jazz pianist’s album, the concept of which was to choose a space or environment, and let that dictate the improvisational pieces. Recorded at Auckland’s Town Hall, Alan Brown apparently entered the Concert Chamber room with no preconceived compositional ideas, walking out three hours later with 32 tracks that were subsequently whittled down to an even dozen.
As evident on Night, And A Cloudless Day, Brown has added samples and synths post-recording to enhance some tracks. The pieces tend to be quite harmonically rich. Abandoned Fences very explicitly shows his jazz background, while Towards Home develops what is the most visible melody of the album. After being mixed by Brown and recording engineer Paul Streekstra (mastering by Angus McNaughton), this album has become an ethereal soundscape that truly does capture the environment it was recorded in. It is with no doubt that I can say that this instrumental piano album takes me to another place while listening. It’s clear and consistent musical style between tracks helps to create a continuous flow that you cannot escape from until ‘Silent Observer’ is over.