‘Acquiescence’ is a moment in time, frozen. It’s a diary of acceptance, of surrendering into your surroundings and not looking back. It feels unhurried and relaxed, yet was recorded in just under a week in Madrid, Spain at the Red Bull Music Academy, in which Brian was a participant. Production and arrangement took place back home in Los Angeles also in just under a week’s time. Strong yet vulnerable, the music on ‘Acquiescence’ moves with an air of confidence, but also feels tender and exposed - a deer caught in the headlights. A product of both extreme personal highs and lows, the music of ‘Acquiescence’ finds a delicate balance, grand piano and tenor saxophone up front with very minimal processing throughout. The sound of ‘Acquiescence’ uncovers an artist fearless of the tradition, yet fully capable of molding old technologies with new in ways that feel unquestionably modern, always looking deep inside and always moving forward.
“Clairvoyance” sets the scene with delicately seductive dissonances between slowly repetitive piano chords on top of a curtain of saxophone drones. Harmonic staccato reed slaps from the saxophone arrive and build, polyrhythms budding against each other, a perfect compliment to what comes next. Arguably the standout of the EP, the title track is a push-and-pull dialogue between ivories, breathy and melodic saxophone playing, a string quartet and drum programming. One of Brian’s most cinematic pieces yet, the tension between all elements is palpable - polyphonic lines of highly melodic and reverb soaked saxophone coalescing into each other on top of a bed of stark piano chords and contrapuntal strings, technical yet physically human drum programming pushing each line forward into the ether. “Rites” closes out the set with an affectionate and upfront piano refrain over sequenced 909 kicks and blankets of piano decay and ambience – layers of an artist’s dreams and desires seeping through the speakers throughout.
Acquiescence is one of XLR8R's Best Releases of 2012