Kathy Parsons | Florence, OR United States | 08/23/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Atlantis Lost" is the second release in the "Trilogy of Light" series, and is made up of music pianist Eric McCarl composed twenty years ago. He had left a lucrative job in the computer industry to devote all of his energy and time to composing this music. In the liner notes, McCarl writes, "Atlantis Lost represents a great leap of faith, and maybe more so, my personal conversations with God at a time when everyone around me told me that my beliefs were unjustified." Overall, the music has a sense of very deep inner exploration and reflection. While much of it is rather dark and pensive, there is always a sense of hope. McCarl's style is difficult to categorize - a good thing, I think, in this cookie-cutter world. There are jazz and classical influences as well as new age, but it's not really any of the above. As a youth, McCarl studied many different musical instruments as well as the piano, and that experience shows in his musicianship. All fifteen tracks are solo piano, and the piano sound itself is gorgeous. This music begs to be listened to carefully and thoughtfully, and weaves a story that deserves to be heard. It isn't dinner party background music. Structured enough to feel composed, and yet improvisational enough to feel free and spontaneous, McCarl does an exceptionally good job of making both approaches work together.
The first three tracks are on the upbeat side. "The Runner" is full of energy, and makes it easy to visualize someone running on a beautiful island. "City of Light" is almost carefree - warm and contented. The title track is more tragic. Very open and improvisational, it conveys a deep sense of loss and questioning. An affecting piece, this seems to be McCarl at his most soul-bearing. "Victoria" is a quiet beauty - melancholy and searching. "Silhouette in Red" is a favorite. Built on a very spare melody line that wanders throughout the piece, there are some jazz and even some blues touches. "No More Tears" is reflective and bittersweet. The darkly mysterious "Symphonique" and "Tell Me Why" are also favorites.
Eric McCarl's is a unique and promising voice in the world of solo piano. With his message of peace and hope while at the same time "waging war against ignorance and injustice," may his voice be heard and understood. Recommended!"