Al Gilliom - The Light in Dark Spaces - Stereo Stickman

Al Gilliom The Light in Dark Spaces


The sheer majesty of a single instrument, when mastered and utilised with genuine passion and heart. Al Gilliom takes listeners on a post-hour-long journey through piano-led purity and emotional intensity, proving through and through that there is indeed much light to be found in dark spaces.

Letting Go opens the curtains with softly thoughtful calm. After about three minutes, the pace increases dramatically, a plethora of notes repeat and rise-up, enveloping you in sudden intensity and brightness. It’s energising, and quite cleverly representing the underlying concept of truly, fully letting go. The latter half is stunning thanks to Gilliom’s careful and delicate trajectory beforehand. An incredibly immersive hit of escapism that washes away the weight of the world entirely as it plays.

Then we get the hypnotic and swirling, circus-like chaos and depth of The Silver Lining, at which point Gilliam’s creativity reaches impressively mesmerising peaks. The feeling continues throughout the ups and downs or ocean waves of Lucky. An orchestral strength pours through, igniting a fire that prompts deeper thought and physical movement all at once.

Sensational playing, faultless and incredibly uplifting. The humanity and realness is profound, and for a lyric-free album that’s a stunning thing to witness right now.

Moments of melancholy appear intertwined amidst (or occasionally at war with) moments of absolute bliss. The Dance, intimate and slightly sad, but addictive in its reflective, contemplative sorrow. The mind wanders towards visuals, unique to each listener.

There are a combination of elements throughout this project that make it so unquestionably impressive. It’s not just the life-long training that leads to such captivating performances, it’s the chord progressions, the relevant movement from light to dark, the emotion – the album’s title, these song names, are well and truly highlighted through each composition and delivery. At no point does the album lose your affection. It’s eclectic, offering numerous moods – the sudden calm and hope of The Blue Healer being a fine example of a change in direction. It’s also incredibly unique, presenting a multitude of new melodies, and structures that utilise contrast and dynamic to keep things interesting every step of the way. All of this at once is a rare thing to experience.

Never sticking to a single format, there’s plenty of space within the walls of the album. Quietly expressive tracks like A Place Of Peace (Star’s Song) help create a break from those that compel with flawless waves of melody played at speed. Words Into The Ether takes a similar route, a little lower-toned, almost allowing you to hear the very depth and touch of the piano keys.

Towards the end, a longer title stops things in their tracks for a moment, as all listeners are re-directed towards a very specific tragedy. A Tribute to the Victims of the Christchurch Mosque Shooting is heartbreaking, spacious and poignant, unsettling and final in its gentle yet overwhelming demand for answers.

Then we have the album’s title piece, which finishes things up with a progression from hope to nothingness, returning to a lingering sense of possibility overall. (There’s always a tomorrow, somewhere.) A magnificent composition, wild and unpredictable.

This is a phenomenal album, stacked full with original compositions that are each as enthralling and original as the last. Al Gilliom is categorically a musician and artist worth knowing about.

Find & follow Al Gilliom on Facebook & Instagram or visit his Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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