• Jonathan Widran

PETER MANNING ROBINSON, Celestial Candy

Closing in on ten years since he unleashed his wildly adventurous, sonically intricate, groundbreaking and musically mind bending Refractor Piano™ vibe on the world with the live album Falling Through Clouds, Vol. 1, pianist, composer and inventor Peter Manning Robinson takes his vision to a fresh level of transcendence with his cleverly titled 10 track opus Celestial Candy.

Though the seven “refracted” improvised experimental pieces on the set seem more designed to demonstrate his instrument and software’s range of truly out there, has to be heard to be believed possibilities (rather than created for actual listening enjoyment), their beautifully strange, artfully trippy blend of crazy cacophony and atmospheric soul rolls as a perfect metaphorical soundtrack illuminating our chaotic world – particularly these past few years. The most engaging of these, “Mellifluous” (which isn’t exactly!), and the exotically percussive “Obelisk” incorporate dynamic vocal elements that bring a richer sense of humanity to all the machinery.


While the point of releasing this and his two previous recordings (including his 2020 powerhouse collection Double Helix) is rooted in Robinson’s desire to see how far out of the mainstream musical realm he can go, he blissfully rewards the casual listener here with three beautifully rendered pure piano, free-flowing classically tinged improvisational tunes (starting with the gorgeous “Anjo Dancando” and on through the hypnotic and constantly exciting and surprising “Sirens of the Sun”) that function as well placed oases from the cool and calculated trademark Refractor Piano™ craziness around them.