"There is no ambient record greater than Aloof Proof'sPiano Text. I'm not the type of person given to grand, insupportable claims; this is simply a statement of fact. The album has equals, but no betters, and it is a tragedy that so few listeners have had the chance to hear this album in its entirety, let alone own a copy for themselves. It is the kind of album that becomes essential after just the first listen.
Since it was quietly released in 1994—a time, remember, dominated by the ambient-techno boom of such artists as the Orb and Future Sound of London—it has achieved a kind of cult status among fans of the genre. This is largely due to the edited versions of the album's two tracks that appeared on Asphodel's sprawling drone compilations, opening the world of Aloof Proof to thousands of eager listeners in the mid-nineties.
The overall sound of "The Ghost Ship" and "The Last Leaf" is simple to describe—the tones of a piano are stretched to the horizon line; long, lingering sounds, the fluttering threads of them in the wind, drifting like subtle perfumes, a dream language culled from a very familiar instrument. In its way, it is also a kind of Mandelbrot image—the briefest segments of the tracks can be listened to (like Eno's Neroli or Thursday Afternoon) to get an accurate idea of the whole. However, the magic of Piano Text is that, when taken as a duo of suites, the larger forms of the piece are revealed to be a classical composition of the utmost drama, suspense, nuance. It is, indeed, the music of the inexplicable dreamworlds we all travel to during sleep.
This is an album that must be listened to—no words can adequately describe how spellbinding the music is, how staggeringly elegant and tantalizing the world created within becomes with the simple touch of the "play" button." - Brian Bieniowski (Asphalt Eden)
released November 1, 2007
Played and recorded by Mikel AP
Originally released 1994
Mastered by Tony Cousins
Photo by David Leahy