Robert Haigh, long known as Omni Trio, is a veteran electronic and “ambient drum and bass” innovator. Strange and Secret Things, however, is solo piano. Now, when someone sits down at the piano and plays slowly and pensively, it is easy (and usually lazy) to immediately draw comparisons with Erik Satie, and “Revenant (Prelude)” and “Secret Codes (Prelude)” are in fact reminiscent. A nod, perhaps. Otherwise, Haigh’s seventeen miniatures are hardly strange and if they possess some secret, he seems more than willing to share it with us. He plays a crisp and clear piano, deliberate and intimate.
On this final entry to a trilogy, voltage is mainly used to run the recording equipment, with the rare wisp of a whit of a scent of electronics—a dragonfly following him “Across the River,” a shimmer quietly underlining “Dark House,” synthesizer arabesques decorating “Piano with Generative Tones” and what sounds like a violin (but could be a female soprano) sampled and played backward on the closing “Requiem.” Whether circular or linear, these tuneful, minimal melodies are truly precious pieces, black-and-white snapshots only just beginning to yellow and curl at the edges.
Housed in the sturdy, handmade mini-LP packaging which has become the distinguished and distinguishing hallmark of Siren, Andrew Chalk’s Faraway Press’ Japanese sister label.