Listen To: Air&Rain, ‘when faraway is here’

Listen To: Air&Rain, ‘when faraway is here’

Adriana SaboMonday,5 October 2015

Every now and then a band will take the classical music heritage and expression and turn it into something exciting and interesting. I’m not necessarily talking about sound experiments, but rather, about the use of what we come to recognize as “classical” — instruments, harmonies, thematic development — and turning it into an inspiring and beautiful piece of pop music. This is precisely what was done by Air&Rain on their latest album, titled when faraway is here.

As their name implies, they truly are a refreshment. The band members are brother and sister — Meg and Stan Cassell — joined by Max Benoit. Meg Cassell is a professional oboist who has played throughout Europe and North America, while Stan Cassell, who plays the piano, is a professional pop artist in the Pacific Northwest where he plays all kinds of music on keyboards, bass, and guitar. when faraway is here is their latest endeavor in making relaxing, amazing music that represents different moods and paints some incredibly colorful musical images and soundscapes. Their goal with this album was to create something to “soothe your soul on your commute or provide something to engage your own inner world,” which is precisely what they do during the course of ten inspiring tracks. 

Air&Rain reveal supreme technical skills that match their creativity. Since the oboe/english horn and piano combination is not very common — in classical music or in pop — this album has a unique feel to it, providing us, the listeners, with a very provocative and enjoyable listening experience. The peculiar feeling that this album awakens is enhanced strongly by the percussion that provides contrast and

when faraway is here starts slowly with “Bird Story,” which introduces the technical mastery of the Air&Rain. As the oboe plays the role of the bird, the duo’s improvisations open up the magical world of their imagination to our ears. “In This Hour” establishes a somewhat sorrowful atmosphere that will — worry not — disappear by the end of the album. The title track — “When Faraway Is Here” — and “Passing Go” introduce an asian sound. This paints the album with numerous colors and invites images of the exotic orient and magic. On the other hand, Air&Rain’s love of experimentation with different musical colors — I sense the influence of Debussy here — is revealed in full with “A Peacock Wedding” and “Surface Tension,” a track for solo piano that reveals Stan Cassell’s unique improvisational skills. “Upon That Unseen” continues in the same manner, keeping the oriental-like sound of diminished seconds and ornamentation. The final three tracks, “Crypsis,” “Inner World” and “Afterglow” are all incredibly beautiful, meditative and will — I guarantee — help you open up your inner world.

when faraway is here is, thus, highly recommended for all who wish to have their own peaceful oasis with them wherever they go. Just close your eyes and let the music take you wherever your heart wishes to go.

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Hat Tips:

Bandcamp, Image Credit: Flickr

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