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Alan Matthews | The Ineffable

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New Age: Solo Instrumental Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Ineffable

by Alan Matthews

'Best New Artist' nomination by ZMR for 2019. Produced by Grammy winner Will Ackerman & Tom Eaton. Minimalist, original piano. Each song born of, and striving to recreate, a powerful human emotional or existential experience. Music for a life deeply felt
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moiras Song
2:40 $0.99
2. No Words Remain
5:53 $0.99
3. The Resigned
4:25 $0.99
4. The Conversation
5:26 $0.99
5. The Second Goodbye
7:13 $0.99
6. Strange to Me
10:20 $0.99
7. Wistful
2:14 $0.99
8. The Empty House
5:07 $0.99
9. What She Knows
3:45 $0.99
10. You Dont Know What Day It Is
2:47 $0.99
11. Moiras Song Reprise
2:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
'There is an intellectual component in his understanding of the objective of each composition, but this understanding never compromises the raw impact of what he offers us. The result of this rare synthesis of mind and spirit presents us with one of the finest debut recordings I can remember.'

Founder of Windham Hill Records
Member of FLOW



to write a review

Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"The Ineffable" is the debut recording by pianist/composer Alan Matthews, and what an impressive debut it is! Produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, and recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, the eleven original tracks are a combination of solo piano and piano with ensemble featuring several of the fine musicians who often appear on Ackerman’s productions. Immersed in music from a very young age, Matthews became an accomplished trombonist as well as a pianist fluent in jazz as well as classical music. In college, Matthews applied and was accepted into medical school. “Med school is an easy place to perfect playing by ear. After studying all day my eyes were done. I would retire to the music room and play the piano in the dark...night after night. I was listening intensely to George Winston and Pat Metheny, among others… and I also began expressing my own ideas musically.” The music on The Ineffable (defined as “incapable of being expressed in words”) leans to the emotional, expressive side, but it is obvious that a lot of deep thought went into the music as well. I know I’m projecting, but what comes across to me in the music is that this is a person who is emotionally available to others, but is also very comfortable alone with his own thoughts. I’ve read several articles that marvel that a medical doctor could be a truly exceptional musician as well, but I know several medical professionals who are excellent musicians, and what a wonderful way for them to be able to process the more troubling aspects as well as the joyful successes of their difficult profession!

"The Ineffable" begins with “Moira’s Song,” a beautiful and poignant duet for piano and sax (Premik Russell Tubbs). “No Words Remain” features the always wonderful Charlie Bisharat on violin and the haunting (wordless) vocals of Noah Wilding. Reflective and expressed with elegant simplicity, it’s a favorite. “The Resigned” is an introspective piano solo that could have been composed (or improvised) late at night by the light of a candle. Honest and direct, it’s another favorite. “The Conversation” is intimate but also more animated and somewhat “jazzy” with light percussion (Jeff Haynes) and cello (Eugene Friesen) - I love the way it just trails off at the end. Dreamy and melancholy, “The Second Goodbye” expresses a variety of emotions as an evocative piano solo. One of the longer pieces on the album (a little more than seven minutes), it has plenty of time to tell its story without feeling rushed or leaving anything out. “Strange To Me” clocks in at almost 10 1/2 minutes. It begins as a piano solo, gradually adding other instruments as it evolves: cello, violin, bass (Tony Levin), percussion, and vocals all add their own flavors to this smooth jazz blend. As its title suggests, “Wistful” is light and gentle, and Jill Haley adds her soulful English horn to the piano to create a bit of musical magic. “You Don’t Know What Day It Is” is a very expressive piano solo with a quiet grace that seems to convey compassion and empathy - love it! The album closes with a solo piano reprise of “Moira’s Song” - a memorable closing to a really great album!

"The Ineffable" is a stunning debut and I can’t wait to hear what Alan Matthews has coming up in the future! Very highly recommended!

Steve Sheppard

An amazing debut album
These days of summer have been long and tiring for me, month after month of draining humidity, so where does one look for a little respite from the trials and tribulations of life, why in music of course, as music is the only true language in the universe, it can also be the panacea to cure all ills and moods too. So with that in mind I gaze longingly at the album cover of The Ineffable by Alan Matthews, a wonderful oceanic view with a multitude of sun rays poking out through the low level clouds and I begin my voyage of calmness and peace.
The first sense of tranquillity can be found on the opening track entitled Moiras Song. The soothing tones of this truly laid back offering are superbly performed by the artist as his piano sings out across the void of time, in total symbiosis with the sultry Soprano Saxophone of Premik Russell Tubbs.
The theme of relaxation and soothing the furrowed brow continues on this next offering called No Words Remain. The gentleness here is sublime to be a part of, and when combined with the Charlie Bisharat’s violin, anything is possible. There is a slight elevation of energy throughout the piece, one that also pulls back like the tide rolling up to the shore, but that only adds to the perfection of the composition.
On the next track we are gifted a moment of tranquillity called The Resigned. The performance here is something so very special and has a wonderful reflective quality about its overall construction. One could easily look out upon nature right now and just give in to the moment with this charming musical narrative.
There is a certain light hearted reverie about this next offering called The Conversation that is so appealing, the tempo has increased slightly, to give us a notion of a reality of movement in some way, the energy is further raised by incorporating the talents on percussion of Jeff Haynes; the flowing piano and the inventive percussion also give us a sense of a back and forth of a conversation quite cleverly.
As we approach the mid-way junction of the album we come across one of the most emotive tracks from the release and called The Second Goodbye. This moving opus really hit home, the passionate, but reflective performance here was so beautiful to listen to, and then the tones of passion rose higher with the emotion of the narrative as the interplay of the track seemingly became both players in this game of moving expression.
Just about now we find ourselves heading down hill to the final few compositions of the release and as we arrive at the doorway to a piece that has me transfixed, as the artist goes long form on the 10 minute plus arrangement entitled Strange to Me. I once spent a few hours listening to a pianist in Hartsfield Atlanta airport in Georgia and he played a composition similar to this. The ambience of the moment was sublime then and never forgotten and this arrangement has the same energy to it. Charlie Bisharat brilliance on violin added a whole new dimension of class to this already addictive track.
Wistful is next and is almost the opposite of the last offering at just over 2 minutes long, but in this short form offering Matthews expresses so much musically, it is a real treat to enjoy. The performance is light and relaxed and indeed quite wistful, the addition of the incredible Jill Haley on English horn is a huge bonus and adds a sparkling new layer of magic to the piece.
One of my favourite songs was this next offering called The Empty House. I have emptied a few homes in my time, last of which was my dear late mothers, it was indeed one of the hardest things I had to do, and this track for me explores those emotions whilst doing so, exploring as it does the former memories and energies of the home as it was, and now the sheer emptiness of nothing more than a soulless building. Matthews creates a level of ambience and emotion here that would be hard to match, but creates a cathartic musical narrative at the same time.
We are now deep in the weave of the release as we arrive at the composition called What She Knows, the mood here is blissful and the performance even more so, the tranquillity of this arrangement is delightful, the melody is enhanced further by Hayley’s sublime English horn, as the story telling piano manifests an emotive swing and a calming refrain for us all to enjoy.
The voyage through the album has now brought us to a track called You Don’t Know What Day It Is. This is our penultimate offering off the album and once more the artist paints for us a compelling musical picture of excellent tone and timbre. For me this created a soothing atmosphere, so much so I have now played this very track three times already, I just cannot let it go.
We started with Moria and we end with her, with Moiras Song Reprise. Once more the enchanting piano give us the perfect piece with which to leave the release and one bathed in a very light jazzy ethic, calming, tranquil and serene, all good qualities to have in an ending composition of an album of this nature.
The Ineffable is an amazing album, considering it is the debut work of pianist Alan Matthews. The performances and compositions are smooth, confident and intelligently arranged and composed. What Matthews has done so well here is combine that healing aspect of music with a mild Jazz ethic that leaves the whole album totally accessible to each and every listener.