Kai Miano; "Smile While You Listen" Vol. 9
Let me begin by saying that this album is one of my favorites. Kai Miano is a composer and pianist from Bad Homburg Germany, and his style is truly refreshing. His sound is, in many of the tracks on this album, undeniably German. You can hear polkas and European folk influences all along the way. Some of the tracks move and evolve musically, and others set a "groove" which is used to build textures and images. "Earth For Now" is one of these tracks, and "Patrick Son," which I believe to be a stroke of genius, is another.
"Cameopan" has a very distinct European flare about it, solid chords in the midrange played with the left hand and fleeting melody played on the high register with the right. Underneath we have merely percussion, an acoustic guitar way back in the mix, and clarinet taking bits and pieces of solo and melody. The lack of bass and the "light" feel of this piece is quite engaging.
"Eliana 3am" will take you straight to Germany. There is even an accordion highlight at the end of the piece. And yet, Kai finds a way to blend this feel with a serene, contemporary energy.
"Beautiful Cat" is dreamy. It's the kind of piece that will make you contemplate life, with it's effect layered piano track, played once again in the mid and high end range. And "Your Smile" will simply take your breath away, and make you want to be at home, with your loved ones. It evokes feelings of warmth and passion, and after only seconds of listening to this piece you'll be drawn to hear more, never wanting it to end.
My only criticism regarding this album is that some of the percussion/drum tracks are ever so slightly off beat with the piano on occasion, which I attribute more to the production than the composition or the performance. A good quantization of the music and some up to date sound patches would have made this already brillian work of art unstoppable.
Kai Miano is a brilliant musician, and I would recommend "Smile Whlie you Listen" Vol. 9 to anyone looking for creative, original, piano driven compositions.
The album can be listened to or purchased on Kai's website, at: