Jason Boyd

Water's Edge

A review of Water's Edge

Water’s Edge is the second full-length release from British composer/pianist/teacher Jason Boyd, following 2010’s Storyteller. The nine original tracks are a combination of solo piano and piano with keyboard accompaniment (including atmospheric sounds). Some of the tracks are dark and dramatic while others are softer and more melodic, but they are all interesting and colorful. Boyd’s versatility in his composing and playing styles will serve him well. It is interesting to note that after completing his studies at Sussex University and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Boyd taught piano and keyboard before accepting the post as Head of Music at Bexhill College.

Water’s Edge opens with the title track. It begins with an intriguing keyboard prelude that is as haunting as it is beautiful. The piano then picks up the tempo while keyboard string washes add colors that create an interesting contrast to the bell-like opening and closing phrases. I really like this one! “Dawn Call” is much more intense and has a compelling energy. The heavy bass chords on the piano add weight to the lighter, more fanciful right hand. Additional electronic instrumentation makes this piece very dark, mysterious and edgy. “A Glance” goes in an entirely different direction as a lighthearted solo piano waltz with a rubato tempo that feels almost flirtatious. “White Horses” begins with the sound of crashing waves and flowing water. The piano enters playing a rhythmic pattern in the deep bass that sets a dark, dramatic mood. Other than the nature sounds, this one is solo piano and also very moody – I like it! “Twilight” is again on the darker side, but in a much gentler way. The rolling broken chords in the bass create a soothing backdrop for the melancholy melody – very effective. “Lonely Path” is another favorite. This time the rolling broken chords suggest moving forward while the soulful melody seems to express longing and loss. I’d love to play this one! “Deep Blue” opens with the sound of children playing in water – probably the surf. The slow flow of the left hand suggests the ebb and flow of the ocean while the calm right hand conveys a peaceful tranquility. In the middle, electronic instruments enter to enhance the mood while the sound of the rolling surf mesmerizes and gradually fades out.

Water’s Edge could be a little more experimental than some people like, but if you enjoy exploring different musical approaches a bit out of the mainstream, this is a good choice. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!

Kathy Parsons