Search - Philip Aaberg :: High Plains

High Plains
Philip Aaberg
High Plains
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

A subtle emotional dichotomy seems to be at work in the reflective solo piano works found on this, the 1985 debut recording from Montana-born pianist Philip Aaberg. Many of Aaberg's contemplative selections carry a faint, ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Philip Aaberg
Title: High Plains
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Windham Hill Records
Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop
Styles: Meditation, Instrumental, Adult Alternative
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 019341103721, 019341103745

A subtle emotional dichotomy seems to be at work in the reflective solo piano works found on this, the 1985 debut recording from Montana-born pianist Philip Aaberg. Many of Aaberg's contemplative selections carry a faint, bittersweet flavor, suggesting that something beautiful or treasured is slowly slipping from our collective grasp, perhaps due to complacency, ambivalence, avarice, or neglect. High Plains conveys Aaberg's deep attachment to his native landscapes, and affecting, wistful pieces such as "Remembering This Place," "The Big Open," and the three-part "Three from the Hills" (with its middle section subtitled "Once It's Gone...") all spell out the pianist's implied notion that we may never again have things quite good as we have them now--though what we now have can be exquisite, gorgeous, and humbling. Musically, Aaberg's sense of melody is elusive though never beyond our grasp. His compositions speak softly and evocatively, likely in search of a properly attuned ear. Other than the forcefully played "Westbound," Aaberg's music here is a worthwhile experience. --Terry Wood

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CD Reviews

Simple, brilliant beauty
W. D. Rupy | Mestrino, PD, Italy | 02/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I own this on vinyl, from the time it was first released. This was back when George Winston was all the rage (well, maybe 'rage' is a little strong a word when describing anything remotely "new-age" ! ) but I preferred this album by far over Winston's "pompously didactic" playing. Aaberg's music has a painfully honest and direct appeal that never fails to bring tears of the-appreciation-of-beauty to my eyes (especially the 'birdcall' which opens the title track ). I went for years not listening to this album, during which time I moved from the east coast to Colorado, went through a lot of life-changes, and I have listened to very different music ( Slint, Soundgarden, Burning Airlines, The Dismemberment Plan, Godspeed You Black Emperor to name a few.) And as much as I like cranking up some Jawbox, there's just something about listening to Aaberg's music while being "out West" that just clicks, same as Copeland's music (or to a lesser degree, U2's 'Joshua Tree' album ). The geographic relevance of such music can't be denied; However, you don't HAVE to be fortunate enough to see such places to appreciate music such as this - if you have imagination, these finely crafted songs will take you there anytime you like. Highly recommended."
No Wonder They Sing
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 10/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album, Aaberg's debut, was an early discovery for me, and has stood the test of time in my collection. I've owned several versions and giving them all hours of play. I find this both excellent background music and excellent performance work that can be enjoyed for itself, without any of the trappings of new age labels. Aaberg is first and foremost a player and writer, not a new age musicion, and this shows in his careful crafting and ability to vary his style and choice of tonalities.The music is evocative of the Northwest, but not in a geographic or scenic sense. Instead, he tried to build a picture that has as much inner landscape as it does reference to places and events in that world. He couples this with exceptional musicality, where themse actually come into being, vary and mutate in an orderly progression rather than meandering endlessly as is sometimes the care elsewhere in this genre.Good new age music is simply jazz in another guise - perhaps a bit more focused on the melodic rather than the harmonic content. In it's essence though, Aaberg's music rides as free as the world that inspired the music. It doesn't try to overwhelm, but reaches for a fine emotional balance that quickly starts to carry the listeners along, only to deposit them later in a place that is somehow better.Current buyers who are interested in adding an exemplary CD to their pianist/composer collections should be delighted at its availability at an easily affordable price. Aaberg is not prolific, but his work is of consistently high quality. A worthy purchase for the contemplative."
Musical grandeur and serenity of the western high plains.
Jeff Kingdon ( | Danville, Indiana, USA | 12/07/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first heard excerpts of New Age solo piano music as musical interlude between news segments of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." I became interested enough to search it out at my local record store. "High Plains" was my first venture into New Age and acoustical instrumental music, the result of that initial search, and I must say it openend a whole new world for me. I purchased this album when it was first released - in vinyl! I later recorded it on tape for my own use when traveling and to preserve the record. Both are now worn out and I am buying the CD. For those who have visited or imagined the high plains and the near mountain regions of western Kansas, eastern Colorado and north into Wyoming and Montana, this music captures the spirit of the place. It is a musical geography lesson! The grandeur of the wide open area with big sky above and prairie views ended only by the curve of the earth are in this recording. My mind's eye views the magnificent snow capped Rocky Mountains from the east, and I hear the lyrical, trickling sounds of streams emanating from these heights like the Marias or Yellowstone rivers. The piano is the perfect instrument to conjure these scenes in my mind, as from a hawk's-eye above the plains. I know little of piano technique or the art of composing, but I do know that I'm inspired with these beautiful sounds of grandeur and serenity."