★★★★ Solo Piano III GENTLE THREAT. CD/DL/LP Line-blurring Canadian cult star completes trilogy of bare-bones piano solos.
Prankster rapper, serial collaborator, self-declared genius and piano virtuoso, the satin robed, slipper-sporting Chilly Gonzales cuts a singular figure, working his magic for Feist, Drake and Jarvis Cocker. The limber ivory tickling that bagged him a Grammy for a 44-second bridge on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories continues here amid the ornate harmonics of Pretenderness, widdling white-key impressionism of Famous Hungarians, fluid exhibitionism of Chico or sustained tomfoolery of Blizzard In B Flat Minor (all begging for black-and-white celluloid companions). While the playful spirit and precise progressions of his previous albums linger, it’s demonstrably darker entries – the Satielike, minimalist Nimbus, flickering Bernard Herrmann-style suspense of Present Tense or October 3rd’s jazzy autumnal descending chords – that capture Gonzales’s disarming craftsmanship best.