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Music Review

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Artist: Thomas Bartlett
Label: Modern Recordings / BMG
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 24 July 2020

Pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett releases his debut solo album, Shelter via Modern Recordings/BMG. The LP represents a collection of eight (57 min, 06 sec) disarmingly beautiful piano nocturnes written as a love letter to his partner, British actress and singer Ella Hunt, as well as to New York City itself, his home for 21 years...

Shelter is quite the album. Usually with projects like this there are a few standout pieces and quite a bit of filler material. What Thomas Bartlett delivers is almost an hour's worth of beautiful and emotive tunes that slot wonderfully together. Each piece is named after types of roses. While all of the pieces are worthy of your time, 'Rubrifolia' stands out as the track that has possibly the most memorable theme at its core.

Bartlett recorded the album in his home over two days following the beginning of lockdown. Talking about the album, Bartlett said: "In the total strangeness of the moment and the lockdown, I gave myself permission to do a thing that I don’t usually do, in terms of how these pieces to me are kind of shameless in their sentimentality."

Yes it's sentimental and melancholic, and that's what makes this such an engaging and richly rewarding listening experience. A truly beautiful modern masterpiece.


Darren Rea

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