Creators often see their work as alive and subject to change. One notable example is George Lucas, whose Star Wars franchise was continually subject to new adjustments; no incarnation of his work is the same. Seemingly taking a page from this book of reimagining seasoned material, Future of Forestry has released The Piano and String Sessions EP, a collection of living works with a new perspective.
Eric Owyoung, the main creative force behind FOF, sees his music as open to several types of interpretation, and The Piano and String Sessions EP is the next project in this journey. Using only an upright piano, a cello, and two violins, Owyoung transforms his previous compositions by implementing a minimalist, but still complete, approach. To call the project a mere "acoustic project" would be underselling it, however, as there is a certain beauty in the simplicity of each song. These songs were beautiful in both forms, even if the listener has to adjust a bit on the first exposure. When Young Man Follow's "You" begins the album in discreet fashion, the listener immediately understands what sort of project this is, and the six following tracks are just as serene.
Save for the band's Christmas EPs, The Piano and String Sessions EP features selections from every major FOF studio project, and the EP serves as a great companion piece to the catalog. Young Man Follow's "As It Was" already worked well as a break in that album's action, making it a logical inclusion here. Travel III's "Horizon Rainfall," previously a synth and keyboard driven track, stays refreshing with the strings simulating the raindrop sounds of the original track. "Traveler's Song," arguably one of FOF's most complete tracks, shines beautifully as a simple piano-driven track where Owyoung's vocals especially stand out. The same is true for the longer songs, "Slow Your Breath Down" and "Halleluiah," which benefit from the less produced feel to breathe new life into the messages therein.
The Piano and String Sessions EP is a comparatively short project that showcases another dimension to the increasingly prolific nature of Future of Forestry. Just skirting by the "novelty project" descriptor without much issue, these reincarnations of previous work give credit to the artistic mind of Owyoung and his desire to try new things. It's a worthwhile effort, thankfully keeping FOF in the artistic conversation.- Review date: 3/19/14, written by Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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