The pioneer of a form of “continuous music” seems, currently, to be continually releasing albums. Actually, Windmills, was worked on for some three years, but here it is, so soon after that quietly stunning collaboration with James Blackshaw and sandwiched between other solo Melnyk albums. The Canadian-based Ukranian pianist and composer is at his relentless best here across two huge compositions – Windmills (split in two parts) and The Songs of Windmills, there is a five-second pause track between the musical pieces. You might just get your breath back. So imagine how it is for the player.
This is the jazz-meets-classical-heads-off-down-an-alley-to-wildly-fuck-all-night version of Little Richard’s “I like to hit whatever keys get in my way” manifesto. This is Bill Evan’s Conversations with Myself and Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert wrestling for both beauty and strength and likely winning in both categories.
Melnyk isn’t so much a musician as a force of life, the collected molecules baring down and blowing so hard over the keys, sweeping up the listener and transporting them along with the flurrying gush of music he creates. Each series of notes flipping in on themselves, turning over, like the fast flowing river coursing over flattened stones, the music both windswept and interesting, as if Jarrett and Terry Riley were stitched together to create Frankenstein’s idea of minimalism for the concert stage.
Windmills is astonishing. You’d call it his masterwork but he’ll be along to trump it in months, and he’s been making so much of the best music of his life in just the last few years after a break for study, for writing, to win world records as the fastest pianist (seriously) capable of sustaining speeds of over 19.5 notes per second in each hand, simultaneously, and the most number of notes in one hour.
It’s worth knowing those stats if you’re to climb aboard this journey. It’s almost frightening the level of dexterity and often frightening is the outpouring of sound. Well, that, and it’s also chillingly beautiful, hypnotic so as to become calming and serene. But you’ll always be on your toes.
One of his masterworks then. There’ll be more. You just know it. You can hear that while listening to this.