11 Songs, 39 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings
5 Ratings
Christian Celebration

Dynamic Solo Piano

“IN THE DISTANCE” MICHAEL BOHNE: Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com

“In The Distance” is the full-length debut album for solo pianist Michael Bohne, following his 2014 EP “Disenchanted.” The album features eleven piano solos composed and performed by Michael, who currently lives in Albany, New York.

His last name is pronounced, “Bone.” Remember it, because we are sure to be hearing much more from this extraordinarily talented artist. This is someone too, who would be well worth seeing in concert. I’m sure it would be amazing.

This album, which releases July 6, 2018, is really quite remarkable and noteworthy. It’s not necessarily the passion that shines through in every note of every composition that makes it so. It’s not necessarily the absolutely flawless performance throughout. It’s not the perfect cadence either. And it’s not the fact that Michael expertly utilizes the entire instrument, both upper and lower registers. (It’s as if he is one with the piano, the whole thing and the whole way through). By the way, Michael is considered legally blind.

But all of that said, what perhaps makes this album so impressively memorable is that it is so vibrant overall. It’s hard to forget this kind of evocative emotion. And even though there are some deeply contemplative and poignant moments here, equally as vibrant in their own way, you won’t want to.

The album opens with “When the Time Comes,” which incorporates falling rain and a ticking clock into the mix. Different and interesting. Some other standouts and highlights on “In The Distance” include the song, “Fading Memories.” If it doesn’t have lyrics, it should. You can almost hear them there somewhere in the ethers. It’s a wonderful, catchy, “I’m moving forward” kind of tune. Dynamic and most definitely mind-sticking. I probably listened to it at least ten times. You may find yourself doing the same and never tiring of it.

“Never Looking Back,” “Phantoms Along the Shore,” and “Taking the Scenic Route,” are my other picks for favorites on this fresh and exciting album. “In The Distance” is highly recommended for solo piano lovers looking for something truly brilliant.

pianoteacherpam

Poignant and distinctive!

“In the Distance” is the debut full-length solo piano album from solo piano artist Michael Bohne (pronounced “bone”) following his 2014 EP “Disenchanted.” As a loose concept for the album, these pieces describe the world in the aftermath of a catastrophic global event, the survivors living lives “haunted by the ticking of a clock in the aftermath of a horrible truth revealed.” Bohne’s hope is that each listener will bring his own individual perspective to this concept and take something unique away.

Overall, this music is introspective, brooding, and evocative. The first track, “When the Time Comes,” sets the scene for the album in an unusual way, opening with the ticking of a clock during a thunderstorm and transitions. The rain ends and the music segues immediately into “Regarding Stonehenge” - dark and eerie, utilizing the full range of the piano, and perfectly capturing the mystery surrounding the formation and meaning of the ancient monument. “Solar Flare,” with its fiery melody and rapid ostinato accompaniment, and is a musical description of the astronomical phenomenon that is associated with sunspots and known to cause electromagnetic disturbances on the earth. The winsome and nostalgic “Never Looking Back,” which Bohne explains “explores the theme of making difficult, defining choices,” is a personal favorite and a magnificent contrast to the sinister “Descent” which follows. This piece explores the lower registers of the piano and the heavy utilization of open intervals creates a strange and eerie effect. “Phantoms Along the Shore” is another somber melody, bringing to mind our instinctive fear of the darkness and the unseen creatures that might lurk there. With an irregular meter and rubato feel, “The Wolves’ Den” provides another shift in mood. The pulsing “Disconnected” is perhaps a nod to the loss of human connection experienced these modern days of cell phones and the Internet. “Taking the Scenic Route,” previously released as a single, is meant to “capture emotions tied to living in the moment and making the best of a situation.” For me, it was a musical meandering capturing the joy of discovery experienced when one chooses to take the longer and slower path as opposed to the more direct way and another favorite but “Fading Memories,” putting me in mind of an afternoon spent sifting through a box filled with keepsakes, souvenirs and old photograph, is my hands-down favorite piece of all. The album ends with “When the Stars Disappeared” - a long, sad farewell and a fitting conclusion to this unique listening experience.

Bohne recorded “In the Distance” at Blue Sky Studios in Delmar, New York on a Chickering & Sons Anniversary Grand Piano. While Bohne admits to the piano’s age and imperfections, he claims that the character of the instrument “has given my recordings a slightly divergent sound that I think is fantastic.” Unfortunately, I felt that the sound and intonation of the piano was a distraction from the beauty of Bohne’s compositions. Otherwise, I recommend “In the Distance” as a poignant and distinctive solo piano album.

KathyPiano7

From MainlyPiano

I was slightly unsettled to discover that I was reviewing two solo piano albums in two days based on the concept of what it would be like at the end of the world! "In The Distance" is the debut full-length album by Michael Bohne, who describes the idea for the album as: “A global, extinction level event is certain and close in time. Few will survive, those that do will slowly fade away. Developed under this focus, this concept album explores the thought of living your life haunted by the ticking of a clock in the aftermath of a horrible truth revealed.” As bleak as that sounds, much of the music suggests a sense of hope rather than despair, and while several of the eleven tracks are dark, some are not - possibly to express trying to carry on as normally as one can, even knowing the inevitable is near.

The album was recorded on a Chickering Anniversary Grand piano at Blue Sky Studios in New York. To quote Bohne: “The piano here has had a long life and I’ve embraced some of its current imperfections. It has given my recordings a slightly divergent sound that I think is fantastic, it complements 'In The Distance' very well.” As much as I love the sound of a top-notch piano, the imperfections of some of these old workhorses add a distinctive voice and charm all their own.

"In The Distance" begins with the sound of a ticking clock (it sounds like an old one) along with rain and thunder, leading into “When the Time Comes,” a prelude of sorts that sets the dark and mysterious tone of the album. “Regarding Stonehenge” was composed after visiting the Stonehenge site in England, exploring the idea of the formation being a calendar and what it could reveal if its true intentions were known. Graceful and very melodic, this is one of my favorites. “Solar Flare” ups the energy level with passages that are almost joyful. “Never Looking Back” explores making difficult, defining choices and often expresses the sadness of having to make those decisions. Poignant and very beautiful, it’s another favorite. “Descent” begins in a very dark, bleak place with feelings of being lost and alone. The theme changes to a more optimistic tone and then alternates with the first theme - a very interesting and effective series of transitions! “The Wolves’ Den” is somber and weighty, as though the tragedy of what is coming is being fully realized. I like the changing themes as the piece progresses and the powerful, expressive beauty of those themes. Not surprisingly, “Fading Memories” has a very nostalgic feeling, but does not suggest despair or fear. “When the Stars Disappeared” begins with a slow, steady rhythm that creates feelings of foreboding and perhaps resignation. It brings to my mind that the worst has happened and it will be a short time before all is lost. The feelings of hope and optimism are all but gone.

Michael Bohne has created quite a fascinating story here, leaving the narrative to each listener’s interpretation. I can’t wait to hear what else he has in store for us! Recommended!

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