Library Tapes ~ Patterns (Repeat)

ArtworkSensitivity and sadness are often known to link hands, but it’s usually not done out of love, less a public display of affection and more like a necessary, binding union. Sensitivity doesn’t always equal an automatic brand of sadness, but on Patterns (Repeat), where David Wenngren’s piano shines upon a lake of black silk, illuminated by nothing more than the pale light of the moon, the two not only clasp hands, but are married.

The Swedish pianist and composer has returned to his gently stirring piano music to ponder the ripples (patterns) this melancholia casts upon the waters. His gentle, pastoral music has a thorn in its side, as well as in its heart, one of infinite sadness (the feeling has been present in his piano music for a long time), but that’s not the end of it. The music treasures the passing of the seconds in spite of its tears, looking upon the sand in the timer and the greying of its hair and coming to the conclusion that no reversal is possible. And choosing to accept that.

Yes, a sadness swirls within these patterns, sticking like glue to the fabric of the notes, its sheet music dripping with tears instead of fresh ink. This isn’t a leech-like, parasitic feeling, because the dripping tears form a vital part of its subdued personality; the music just wouldn’t sound the same. The sadness is immediate, and it stings, but that’s just the lie of the land, and the music isn’t defeatist even when it appears to be dealing with defeat. Quite the opposite, as the strings cut through the murkier piano, still able to sing their quiet songs of redemption, although they’re played in a gray key and coated in a fine morning drizzle.

The lake becomes agitated, and the ripples continue to spread like the echo of a hundred thoughts, pondering the depth of the lake and trying to find some closure within its blackened tank. Yearning for a closure it may not attain, the piano doesn’t seem to care about anything else, so desperate is it in a failing pursuit as to lose track, and importance, of other things. In spite of this, the music isn’t lacklustre.

When gazing upon the music, it can be hard to see anything beyond a lowered head and, when it does manage to lift its tired head, a quick glimpse of a pupil stained in obdurate black. Notes are penned in black, too, and the music reflects their mood. The music has suffered some kind of tragedy and these patterns represent a mourning, a digesting, and a healing of sorts, but it’s a slow process. But still it’s able to flutter its wings in a series of graceful swoops and tender melodies, albeit sketched in black and white. (James Catchpole)

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