Reality is the new album from Maine-born, UK-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Stillman.
Stillman's catalogue on Orindal Records chronicles a singular musical voice traversing diverse stylistic territories: the intricate layered arrangements of 'cosmic jazz' on his 2016 LP Rainbow, the ambient experimental textures of his 2016 EP Time of Waves, and the minimal repetitions of his 2017 tape of electric piano meditations, Portals. Each of these sound worlds are reflected in the eight tracks of Reality, but in a looser, more improvised form which, for Stillman, represents a return to his formative, early influences in the recordings of John and Alice Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Albert Ayler.
These luminary voices serve as relevant reference points for an album that Stillman made as an attempt to, as he articulates it, "draw attention to, and unconditionally praise, the directly experienced world." For Stillman, (and for Jason Evans, whose photographs feature on the album cover art) this is the 'reality' sensed in small scale, momentary perceptions of beauty (read: "is-ness") that reveal themselves when we are awake to the present. These moments represent the well from which this album's music draws its energy and purpose.
The album's title also references what music writer Virgil Moorefield calls the "Reality of Illusion," that of Stillman's solo, multi-tracked ensemble of one, in which he plays saxophone, clarinets, drums, and piano. In contrast to past albums in which the layered recordings are used to realise predetermined compositions, the music on Reality often finds Stillman's multiples engaged in more spontaneous interaction, producing the uncanny sound of one mind in multi-voiced conversation with itself. The subject of these discourses is often a single melody, repeated and developed across different voices in an elaborated chant form.
Reality will be released by Orindal Records on vinyl, compact disc and digital formats on February 22, 2019.
Robert Stillman is a musician from the northeast United States, now based in East Kent, UK. His music juxtaposes the archaic
with the futuristic, incorporating influences of American Folk Music, Jazz, Minimalism, and experimental electronic music to create a sound described by the Guardian as “lending an avant-garde shimmer to pre-modern American sounds.”
supported by 24 fans who also own “Reality (U.S.)”
Beautiful synth-keyoard driven jazz with a cerebral atmosphere that's natural and artistic, as well as simply comforting to one's soul even as it challenges you, the listener, to open your ears. Maybe even your eyes, too. I select Sunrise on Pruhina as my favorite track, but really, it's all about "Goldilocks". A fave of 2021!!! Matthew Flores