Alandra Markman – ‘Live at Shapeshifter’

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Alandra Markman is a New York City based Spiritual Healer, Poet and Musician. All of these are evident on his Solo Piano album ‘Live at Shapeshifter’.

‘Live at Shapeshifter’ darts between both classical and jazz genres during it’s 5 spiritually uplifting tracks. The album is completely improvised and are a sonic documentation of what was happening at that moment in time.

This stunning piece of work opens with ‘Steeping Nettles’, it is an excellent opening track and represents Markman’s skill and talent. To begin with the track feels disorientating as it skits all over the pianos’ keyboard but the listener always feels safe in Markman’s hands. There are gorgeous arpeggios and descending runs throughout. We especially adored the ascending arpeggio chords in the middle, creating a whole textured and colourful landscape. It is so clear in its audio description you can almost touch it. Adding to this, is the staccato rhythm three quarters of the way through, conjuring further interest and absorption. His fingers are dancing over the keys so fast we were left wonder, how many fingers does he have?

The second track, ‘Mutiplicitous Abiding’ has a dissonant chordal opening and is slower in tempo than its predecessor. There are a lot of clashing, uncomfortable and forbidding melodies which adds a mysterious quality. It left us always on edge and never quite sure what is coming next, in the best possible way! 

‘One Hand Jazz’ comes next which has a happy and skitty nature being perfectly juxtaposed to ‘Mutiplicitous Abiding’. ‘Modified Wrangle’ has an opening full of confusion and again, fast subconscious playing. We could easily hear ‘Modified Wrangle’ serving as music placement for Carrie Mathison in ‘Homeland’. It has chaos descending into clarity and then straight back to choas again. There is a resolution at the end but the entire track will keep you on the edge of your seat, twisting and turning; always following it’s own path. 

The final track ‘Chorale’ has an opening which could easily be identified as a classic old standard. It is extremely chordal, changing from major to minor and using every suspending chord in-between! There are riffs which dance to the chords and then resolves in a sense of wonder and hope. The final note however feels like the listener has be left on a question, will this be answered in Markman’s follow up piece of work?

All of the songs clearly belong to the same body of work. This is all credit to Markmen’s skilful playing ability. We can hear the live theatre and poetry in his cadences and delivery. After viewing Markman’s website, he clearly has a love of art in all its forms and is a special, exciting and innovative artist.

Live at Shapeshifter is available on all music stores, so what are you waiting for? Go and check out this thoroughly inspiring album today!

Interviewed by FVReviews June 2018

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