Craig Armstrong - Piano Works

Craig Armstrong
Piano Works

(Sanctuary)

First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12

Written by T.J. Simon

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Scotland’s Craig Armstrong is best known as the producer who stood behind albums from U2, the Spice Girls, and Massive Attack. He also has provided much of the background music for a variety of films, such as Mission Impossible, Moulin Rouge, and Romeo + Juliet. His previous solo outing As If to Nothing was a string-heavy set of ambient electronica collaborations with a who’s-who of musicians from the U.K. rock world, but he downshifts this approach rather significantly on his latest CD — the quiet Piano Works. In essence, the album is a collection of solo piano compositions with a strictly instrumental approach, and a few are actually bare-bones renditions of selections from his film scoring work. The slightly eerie Satine’s Theme is a piece from Moulin Rouge that is about 30 seconds in length. In contrast, Morning Breaks from Romeo + Juliet is a more substantive composition that is best suited as Sunday morning, background music. Glasgow Love Theme (from Love Actually) is another well-crafted, little number in the same vein. While there’s nothing on Piano Works that will cause listeners to cringe, buyers should understand very clearly what they are purchasing. This is not a trip-hop album from Massive Attack’s renowned collaborator. Instead, Armstrong has produced a soft-spoken collection of 19 tracks with classical inclinations, ones which are more consistent with the mellow works of George Winston. Judging the album from that perspective, however, Piano Works can be viewed as a success. starstarstar ½

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box