Album reviews

Sebastian Rochford – ‘A Short Diary’

Sebastian Rochford – A Short Diary

(ECM 2749. Album Review by Patrick Hadfield)

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Sebastian Rochford is perhaps best known for having been the driving force behind the iconoclastic band Polar Bear; his new release on ECM, A Short Diary, the fifth on which he has appeared on ECM but the first as leader, shows a very different side to the artist.

Written and recorded at his family home following the death of his father, the poet Gerard Rochford, the pieces that make up this short album might be a meditation on grief; and whilst some of the tunes are as sombre as that suggests, there’s no grief without love: there’re also touches of joy. It is a thoughtful, sensitive record, full of tender moments.

Rochford is joined by pianist Kit Downes, who interprets the music beautifully. There’s a lot of space in the music. Rochford’s gentle, subtle drumming makes every note count – and the rests count even more.

Night Of Quiet is a slow, pensive number; whilst Rochford’s drums do appear, his brush strokes are sparse and soft as to barely be heard. Our Time Is Still features only piano, tentative and slowly searching. Both pieces capture a mood of stillness.

Written by his father and transcribed by Rochford, Even Now I Think Of Her has a wistful intensity, and brings this moving and deeply intimate album to a fitting end.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. He is on Mastodon.

LINK: Sebastian Rochford at ECM

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