Tim Story is one of those artists who exists in a natural state of repose, whose music is born from a point that is deep and still, gaining resonance and contour as it rises from the bottom of the well. Story has defined a... more »mbient chamber music since the early '80s, and Shadowplay continues down that path with music that hovers at the borders of darkness and joy. Story extends his keyboard-based palette with oboe and cello, giving his compositions an even warmer hue. What sets him apart from the likes of Kevin Kendle and Michael Hoppé is Story's resistance toward neoclassical nostalgia. With Story, there's always a sense that something ominous could be lurking around the corner, like a shark hanging at the edge of an intoxicating coral reef. That element of foreboding is particularly apparent on "Intemperate," as Dieter Moebius from the quirky German band Cluster adds subtle abstracted electronics. Like most Story albums, Shadowplay is as haunting as that first moment when one awakens from a dream--and just as elusive. --John Diliberto« less
Tim Story is one of those artists who exists in a natural state of repose, whose music is born from a point that is deep and still, gaining resonance and contour as it rises from the bottom of the well. Story has defined ambient chamber music since the early '80s, and Shadowplay continues down that path with music that hovers at the borders of darkness and joy. Story extends his keyboard-based palette with oboe and cello, giving his compositions an even warmer hue. What sets him apart from the likes of Kevin Kendle and Michael Hoppé is Story's resistance toward neoclassical nostalgia. With Story, there's always a sense that something ominous could be lurking around the corner, like a shark hanging at the edge of an intoxicating coral reef. That element of foreboding is particularly apparent on "Intemperate," as Dieter Moebius from the quirky German band Cluster adds subtle abstracted electronics. Like most Story albums, Shadowplay is as haunting as that first moment when one awakens from a dream--and just as elusive. --John Diliberto
"Tim Story's style is classical contemplative, his music is a reflection upon the linear flow of time that lingers briefly, making us wish that we could hold on to it for just a while longer. Like looking at a photo by Ansel Adams, Tim Story fills the space between silence and sound with beauty.In Shadowplay, I am reminded of a dancer on a darkened stage, with the only light a bright spotlight and his only partner being his shadow. The dance is between the extremes of light and dark, with the dancer and his shadow the uniting movement. Each of the 10 tracks reflects that dance in some way. He uses the piano, the synthesizer, the cello and the oboe to bring either light or dark to each piece and changes their part from piece to piece to show the versatility of the instruments as well as the musician.Tim Story plays piano and synthesizers again with Kimberly Bryden on the oboe and Martha Reikow on the cello. They work together well, achieving the balance of light and dark with the brilliance of one offsetting the darkness of the other. The addition of synthesizers is to sometimes bind them together, while at other times it is the separating element. The opening track "Map of the Warm Night" and the follow up "Perhaps" are wonderful examples of this light and shadow balance. Tim's music is sometimes melancholy but never depressing. It is always light like air, and evokes the emotion of time passing as we try to grasp it before it gets away. The track entitled "Intemperate" is probably the best example of this, and it has a most playful air about it. The addition of Dieter Moebius' electronics gives this piece a most surrealistic quality. Tim Story has always presented beautiful music with a classical touch to ambient electronica genre. This CD is the most beautiful blending of his style to date and is a must for Tim Story fans. It harkens back to his "The Perfect Flaw" CD and removes any doubt that Tim Story is a master of this medium."
Never trivial, Never maudlin
William L Murray | Chamblee, GA United States | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On Shadowplay, Tim Story masters the minimalist style, with songs of grace and subtlety. Top notch playing and production allows the listener to move deeper into the intersecting emotions outlined with each playing.
Story uses primarily piano, strings and oboe here, and what is notable is what has been left out - any superficial element that would distract from the carefully constructed mood of peaceful questioning. This is what sets Story apart from many new age artists; this is not blissful music, but music always open to the unfolding impermanence of life.
One of joys is his use of tempo changes for emphasis - when he has established the tone and color, he will slow the pace, allowing the song to gather depth and gravitas.
Deeply Darkly Bittersweet
Daniel R. Greenfield | Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | 05/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This music is permeated with a bittersweet melancholy. Some of the most beautiful music Story has ever composed graces this album. He has taken the next step beyond The Perfect Flaw and now seems far beyond most other adult contemporary musicians in the mastery of his medium.While the music is shot through with melancholy, it is also intelligent, wise, contemplative, compassionate, and unpresumptuous. Children and shallow-minded people will find very little here to enjoy. This is primarily thoughtful music, with a dark brown coloring.From a compositional perspective, probably the most interesting piece on this album is the excellent When All Beyond Was Wild. If I'm not mistaken, it is the longest composition that Story has so far composed, and he does some rather amazing things in it. I especially love that subtle key change that occurs midway through it, and the subtle electronics which seem to mimic cryptic wild animals.The only piece that I have not been able to fully appreciate is Intemperate. Perhaps it is the electronics, or perhaps the slightly more upbeat tone of this piece which sets it apart from the others. At any rate, this album is essential listening for all intelligent ears."
kjon99fm | USA | 09/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Deep, rich, reflective, sincere. Just a few adjectives to describe Tim Story's latest effort. He has come light-years since his earlier works such as "Glass Green" and "Three Feet From the Moon". His style has carefully developed refelctive tones with each release and "Shadowplay" will easily take control of your emotions.When you're down, this will lift you up, and even when you're in a joyous mood, "Shadowplay" will reinforce that happiness with the overwhelming beauty of every composition. There isn't a cut on this disc that cannot evoke some introspection into your soul. It's mesmerizing, hypnotic, and utterly satisfying in different ways each time you play it. Simple elite craftmanship. Although "A Perfect Flaw" is a great work of art from Story, "Shadowplay" will overshadow it.As a sidebar..."Intemperate" was featured in the ending credits of the movie "Erin Brochovich"."
The master of melancholy is back!
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire | Minneapolis, MN United States | 04/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tim Story, probably the finest practitioners of miniaturist neo-chamber music is back with his latest release, SHADOWPLAY. Continuing where he left off with THE PERFECT FLAW, he once again blends delicate strings and woodwinds (this time, cello and oboe) with his own muted piano, guitar, and (of course) his unique assortment of synthesizers and keyboards. The result is a recording dipped in regret, melancholy, and profound sorrow. But, unlike others who "musically" paint with broad brushstrokes and infuse their music with pomposity, pretentiousness and melodrama, Tim's music is refined and laser-sharp, comprised of repetitive phrasings that are subtle in the extreme as they evolve over the course of each song. At the same time, a thread of what I often call "emotional ambiguity" runs through all the pieces here as well. While I refer to Story's music as "tragically beautiful" or "melancholic," others could hear it as something else. Still, the use of minor key chords and notes, the slow rhythms (if any at all) and the darker undercurrents of synths, do carry a "sad" texture to my ears. But the impact of Story's music will vary with the listener. This ambiguiity is aided by Tim's typical idiosyncratic approach to song titles which do not "draw a picture" of what the listener is supposed to "feel" or "imagine" except in a very indirect way (if at all).If you are a fan of Tim's BEGUILED, you will love SHADOWPLAY. If you liked THE PERFECT FLAW, you may think part of this is a little more "electronic" (which, in subtle amounts, it is by comparison). But SHADOWPLAY is not that similar to his much earlier CDs, except perhaps GLASS GREEN.With all due respect, I have no idea why my esteemed colleague John Diliberto would compare Tim Story to Kevin Kendle, as they operate in wholly distinct subgenres. To compare the two is a disservice to both artists, IMO. It would be like comparing Joni Mitchell (folk) to Susannah McCorkle (jazz). Just my opinion, of course."