"'Sativa' has a stately presence to it, for Martin Graff’s galloping chords and delicate gestures result in a fully immersive world, lyrical without needing to say a single word..."
Martin Graff features his impeccable chops on the piano with the impressionistic “Sativa.” Things are kept to the essentials—only the power of the singular instrument. How he makes that single thing sing is remarkable. Going on a virtual journey from classical to jazz to pop and more, there is a lot to unpack with his multiple suites of sound. Volume shifts too, adding to the intrinsic beauty of the piece making sure that it evolves at a careful pace. Rhythms have a grace to them, for they speed up and slow down on the stop of a dime. By allowing this ebb and flow, Graff creates a connection between older piano solos and newer music.
Within the older, decidedly more classic side of things, Martin employs the dreamy disposition of Debussy’s work into the atmosphere. Sounds virtually waft on up into the sky, thanks to their careful cadence. Elements of Chopin’s defiance can be seen over the course of the experience as well. For the newer side, George Winston’s yearningly beautiful work can be found in abundance. Also found deep in the confines of the experience is some of Max Richter’s soundtrack work. Thanks to Martin Graff’s own careful focus he creates an identity that has a uniqueness to it. The burst of the keys leads to a wonderful decay, one that captures a romanticism to it. Little nimble elements come into the fray. He makes sure to set the mood. Out of nowhere he lets the piece seemingly rise up, as if awakening from a deep slumber. Lots of light pours into each gesture, making it so lovely to behold. Downright beautiful, the experience has a force of nature to it, delicate yet persistent. A clear-eyed focus allows the piece lots of room to roam. By making sure that every detail, big and small, are given equal weight, he lets the work develop in a kind, affectionate way.
“Sativa” has a stately presence to it, for Martin Graff’s galloping chords and delicate gestures result in a fully immersive world, lyrical without needing to say a single word.
—BS, March 25, 2022
Beach Sloth examines meaning in an adjacent space created from his own experience with music. His writing embodies the open warmth that has made ‘alt lit’ a welcoming space for so many young people to share their creative work.