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Alan Matthews | Denial's End

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Featuring Piano
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Denial's End

by Alan Matthews

In a world of 'music-as-distraction', Denial's End embraces and accepts our journey's darker moments, finding beauty and solace, even joy. The human spirit is alive and thriving in these meditative piano creations. Produced by Grammy winner Will Ackerman.
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. The Ineffable
3:36 $0.99
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2. The Vestiges
4:27 $0.99
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3. Can't Make It Right
4:11 $0.99
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4. She Returns (She's Always Leaving)
11:22 $0.99
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5. Denial's End
6:15 $0.99
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6. Finding My Voice
2:51 $0.99
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7. The Long Road Home
5:20 $0.99
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8. A Shallow Romance
3:55 $0.99
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9. A Thought of You
3:37 $0.99
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10. Flowers Die
4:11 $0.99
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11. Acceptance... and After
6:53 $0.99
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12. The Ineffable (Reprise)
3:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Meditative acoustic piano with some notable accompaniments. Beautiful harmonies and counter melodies from violin, fluegelhorn, English horn, and voice enrich a gently hypnotic musical landscape, drawing the listener inward, to their own poignant experiences. Music for a life deeply felt.

"There are few higher compliments that I can offer than to say that a piece (or body of work) sounds unlike anyone else...And this occurs through the whole program."
Will Ackerman

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Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

From MainlyPiano
"Denial’s End" is the second album from pianist/composer Alan Matthews, following his 2017 debut, "The Ineffable." Produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, and recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios, the album is a combination of original piano solos and piano with small ensembles that feature some of the dynamic artists who often appear on Ackerman/Eaton productions. Most of the twelve tracks are on the quiet, pensive side and all are very emotionally expressive. Guest artists include Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (english horn), Tom Eaton (bass), Noah Wilding (vocals) and Will Ackerman (guitar).

"Denial’s End" begins and ends with different versions of “The Ineffable,” which translates as “incapable of being expressed in words” (They did not appear on Matthew’s previous album despite the shared title). The opening version is a piano and violin duet with Charlie Bisharat, who always adds a bit a magic to any project he is involved with! Very open and free, the gentle flow of the piece is poignant and compelling. “The Vestiges” is a piano solo that reaches deep within. There are a couple of brief, livelier interludes woven into the piece, but it mostly feels like soul-searching at the piano. “Can’t Make It Right” is a duet with Jeff Oster, who adds a haunting quality to the piece. “She Returns - She’s Always Leaving” is an 11 1/2 minute exploration that is solo piano for the first half of the piece, and features a soulful violin part in the second half. “The Long Road Home” includes Jill Haley and Tom Eaton. Slow, open and relaxed, this one is almost hypnotic with a repetitive left hand pattern on the piano and a simple but heartfelt melody on the right - a favorite. I also really like “A Thought of You,” a tender, wistful piano solo that flows so easily that it might be an improvisation. Reflective and almost mournful, “Flowers Die” features the wordless vocalizations of Noah Wilding plus Tom Eaton on bass. Repetitive flowing broken chords again run through the piece as the melody mesmerizes and touches the heart. Ackerman and Oster add their expressive touches in the second half of “Acceptance…And After,” a peaceful look inward - Ackerman’s acoustic guitar is especially effective on this one. “The Ineffable Reprise” brings the album to a close with a beautiful solo piano version of the opener.

With a little help from the amazing musicians of Imaginary Road, Alan Matthews has created a compelling and gently hypnotic second album that leaves no doubt that his is a unique musical voice with much to share with the world.
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R J Lannan - Artisan Music Reviews

Denial's End
Alan Matthews
Denial’s End

Where words always fail, music will suffice. Luckily, pianist and composer Alan Matthews’s music speaks volumes. Denial’s End is Matthews’s second album and it is just as poignant as his first called The Ineffable, but this one started with a deeper emotional platform, and it has a more thoughtful tone. Even the title of the album is a significant label. Denial’s End. The theme of this contemporary twelve-track album is one of surrender, of acceptance, and of love in a way. Many of Alan’s songs are more than five minutes long, but invest the time. It will be well worth it. Joining Alan on the collection are Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn), Tom Eaton (bass), Noah Wilding (vocals), and Will Ackerman (guitar).
How appropriate is it that Matthews begins the recording with The Ineffable. The word itself is enigmatic and one has to look it up for clarity. It means something so astonishing that it is beyond words and it suits the music very well. It is a gentle piece almost to the point of fragility. The impression is one of melancholy and full of wishful thinking. It is a great start.
Vestiges is a perilous song for its sentiment. It is what is left over after the fact. But what is the fact? Is it a love that has broken and lies in a thousand pieces on the floor or a heart empty of all emotion. Alan extracts a great deal of pathos from this track, but there are positive moments that balance out the piece well.
Perplexing as it sounds, the tune She Returns - She’s Always Leaving has a melody that is quite refined while having an emotional roller coaster ride from within. The downward spiral is sorrow, while the upward lift is hopefulness. One of the best tacks on the album for me.
The title tune Denial’s End is a pivotal tune that spares no sentiment. Alan’s polyphonic composition, featuring Bisharat’s responding violin is as doleful as it gets. Alan’s resonant piano melody covers the listener in a blanket of heartache. No matter how many times I listened to it, I could never hear a happy ending, but that is what made it wistfully beautiful.
The Long Road Home has just enough of Jill Haley’s English horn to make it mournful. It is a placid tune, almost restful. You take the long road home because either you really don’t want to go there or you have lost your way. Either is a heartbreak for one that has made the journey through life and has never been fortunate.
Alan goes solo on the tune, A Thought of You. It can be anything that sparks a memory. The taste of a piece of fruit, the trolley car jangling down the track, or even just the rain. But then you remember the smile or the touch, the talking and the not talking. It comes flooding back like a deluge. This mesmerizing song fills the heart with desiderium, a very rare thing at best.
The song Flowers Die is just sad. It could be a dozen long stemmed roses, a potful of daisies, or just a handful of violets. The joy that flowers bring fades over time, but the memories of the giver, the occasion, the timing, well, that makes thoughtfulness a virtue for the heart. Through Alan’s piano music and Noah Wilding’s ethereal vocal, you can feel the sense of loss and the treasured remembrances.
Acceptance…and After is almost the grand finale. We have so far had eleven tunes to get steely, but there can be no refuting the fact that it is over. The medley has a lot in it for a simple refrain including awareness, surrender, and last of all, defeat. The last song is another rendition of the Ineffable and Alan adds his own sense of closure to the mix. The tune is something he is familiar with, something comfortable. Almost cathartic if you will.
I truly liked all of the tracks, but I caution you that this album has a lot of emotion hidden deep within the music. There are times however, when life should take a wrong turn and it needs to be slowed down. Then you play this kind of music. This is catch your breath, reorient yourself, and spend a little bit of time on introspection music. As I did for Alan Matthews, first album, I highly recommend this music. - R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews
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