Meditations on Present Time

Built around a series of twelve field recordings paired with multiple layers of piano accompaniment, the aural narrative of each environmental recording defines the structure of each piece. Musical transitions are based on ebbs and flows in the layers of sounds within each field recording. The process of composition is first a process of listening.

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D Bayne works his piano compositions into his field recordings, rather than the other way around. The titles reference the twelve locations: “Metra Locomotive, Ravenswood Station”, “Bourbon Street.” A brilliant streaming page is the best way to engage these compositions for now, until Luminescence Records releases the album on June 5. Each track is linked to a photo and an evocative description of the setting. One learns about the Union Pacific Line while enjoying its clacking; while listening to “1 S Wacker Dr”, one discovers the work of architect Helmut Jahn. The field recordings are magnificent, but the music is a match. Bayne wraps his piano around the sounds, often engaging in a pas de deux. The resonant sound of bridge traffic divides sections of “Michigan Avenue Bridge”. In “The French Quarter,” a street singer serendipitously performs “Amazing Grace,” and the moment itself seems like grace. Bayne’s travels take him from city to shore, café to ferry, and wherever he goes, he hears the environment as music. His natural gift is to bring out the inherent musicality of these sounds by enhancing them with notes, in the same way as spices can help to enhance the flavor of food. One of the album’s finest passages arrives a minute into “East Washington Street at Night,” as the piano responds to the chaos of the streets before finding its rhythm and echoing it once again. On Meditations on Present Time, a blur occurs not only between field recording and music, but between artist and subject as well...

Richard Allen

A Closer Listen

Built on a series of twelve field recordings and piano movement, Bayne has taken one medium I usually abhor and one that I truly adore; and combined them together as one. Basing his composition on randomness incorporated through control, ‘Meditations…’ is a sporadic release that works well at creating an atmosphere.

Scenes are played out as an observation piece where Bayne sits back and takes in his chosen environments. Occasionally he wanders and encounters random folk singing in the street, as well as the hustle and bustle of daily life; and piano keys slow and pick up the pace when it is required...

Tony Young


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Music Paper

Der Pianist D Bayne reagiert mit anderen Mitteln auf das was draußen passiert. Meditations On Present Time (Luminescence) fügt minimal repetitive Klavierimprovisation zum Chicagoer Straßenleben – wenn die Straßenbahn kommt muss er härter in die Tasten hauen um noch wahrgenommen zu werden.

Frank P. Eckert


Der vielfach ausgezeichnete US-amerikanische Komponist und Pianist D Bayne lädt auf seiner aktuellen Veröffentlichung Meditations On Present Time (Luminescence Records) anhand von Field Recordings und locker interagierender Klaviermusik zu zwölf Spaziergängen durch Chicago, New Orleans sowie den National Lakeshores in Michigan ein. Ob er sich dabei mit urbanen Transportwegen, natürlichen Landschaften oder dem Flair des French Quarter auseinandersetzt, wird in den Linernotes zwar exakt beschrieben, doch die Wege, die seine Kompositionen einschlagen, bleiben offen genug, um dem Hörer eine Verknüpfung mit der Wahrnehmung der eigenen Außenwelt zu ermöglichen...

Stephan Wolf


In de grote hal van Amsterdam Centraal staat een vleugel. Daar pingelen amateurs wel eens aandoenlijk een deuntje op, maar vaker sta je versteld omdat iemand die echt kan spelen het klavier beroert. En dan blijf je toch even stilstaan om eens goed te luisteren. Of je neemt zo'n flard fraaie muziek mee als je door de gangen loopt of in de trein stapt. Het lijkt wel of D Bayne (ja, om de een of andere reden zonder punt) een stel microfoons opgesteld had op CS....

Sven Schlijper


Whereas many ambient albums are concerned with creating mood and forging a subtle sonic backdrop to life and the world in some way or another, Meditations on Present Time sees Bayne use the ambience of life as a background to his contemplative instrumental pieces. Taking field recordings captured in a range of locations, the tracks reflect very different types of space. From the bustling human traffic of ‘The French Quarter’ to the trickling breeze of ‘Chapel Rock, Lake Superior’...

Christopher Nosnibor

Whisperin and Hollerin

Gravel parking lot, rainfall, listen to Meditations on Present Time, hear car wheels roll, footsteps, an umbrella opens, raindrops dripped down from early Spring oak leaves strike the windshield and roof, only then may one's imminent environment join, through the stereo, the reverie of D Bayne's transcendence.

John Chuprevich

D Bayne is Chicago pianist Dudley Bayne, whose small yet serious label Luminescence, has released four discs so far of trios, septet and sextet. Although this is a recording of solo piano, there is much more going on. Mr. Bayne carefully blends in aleatoric sounds to the written or improvised parts, adding a sly sonic seasoning that evokes ghosts or spirits. Notes echo or sustain while a car passes by, a distant radio or static add a sense of mystery... The background ambiance changes on each piece as does the placement of the piano in the foreground or background. A sung version "Amazing Grace" floats in and out of our view or hearing. Mr. Bayne plays repeating phrases somewhat similar to Terry Riley or one of those other minimalists. Each of the 12 pieces are named after geographical locations so that the field recordings gives these pieces a sense of place. Kind of like wandering around a dream or maze of scenes. The packaging also includes pictures of these places and is also superbly done. I had this disc on a couple of days ago when this man who was looking for records by Terry Riley and LaMonte Young came in. He listened and loved this disc since it evokes a similar spacious vibe, an inner sense of calm. Since the piano often moves in the aural landscape, one must concentrate in order to hear the way certain theme are explored. Highly recommended if you want to transported somewhere else.

Bruce Lee Gallanter

Downtown Music Gallery