Review of Food for the Bearded by Gyan Riley, New Albion, 2002
Riley. An important name, one of the fathers of minimalism, a great artist and musician. Being your son and choosing to make a musician career should not be easy, even less if you decide to play both as a composer as well as guitarist. You know how it is .. gossip .. comparisons … boredom. Fortunately, Gyan Riley seems to be a convinced of his own and surely good family relationships help maintain the necessary serenity.
This is his first cd, his first recording recording where he is playing with his classical guitar music composed by himself (with the exception of Piedad and Balama who were composed of his august parent).
How does Gyan Riley play? Let’s just say that he plays very well, definitely good, a beautiful sound, accurate, with no smudges and inaccuracies. I think that his Maestro, David Tanenbaum, should be very proud of him. How are his compositions? Very nice. Slightly melancholy, almost autumnal, with colors that refer to India and raga, it’s almost meditation music, but without the annoying, false “new age” joy, Riley shows a solid musical preparation and without any silly melodies. His musical quality is indeed high and only my personal taste allows me to choose a piece rather than another, I personally enjoyed the particular right hand’s tremolo in “Quasitremelodo”, the cheerful and jumping “Happychap” and the two chamber music “Sinspiration “And Yubalation” that saw the presence of Tracy Silverman on viola and David Doll at percussion. Beautiful duets with his father Terry Riley on the piano in “Drift” and his voice in “Balama”.