Baroque counterpoint, Arabic melodies and rhythms, free improvisation, ambient minimalism, and all forms of electronic dance music — these are all tools that pianist-composer John Kameel Farah uses in his music, in a compositional approach one could call “Maximalism”. Both a virtuosic pianist and imaginative electronic producer, Farah layers colourful sounds and poly-rhythms to build other-wordly orchestral landscapes. More than a collection of tracks, Time Sketches is more like a symphonic cycle in 10-movements, culminating in the final “Fantasia” which stylistically spans several centuries. Using the piano alongside an array of synthesizers and electronics, Farah represents a new generation of North-American composers, whose intensely expressive style allows dramatic narratives to co-exist alongside abstraction and complexity.
Recording Time Sketches was a huge experiment for John Farah. The album revolves around the sprawling 12-minute Fantasia, which was originally commissioned by the Western Front Society in Vancouver. John revised and recorded this work for Neue Meister, and composed the other nine tracks in only a month (a process that would normally take years) in a concert hall by the forest in Hannover. This special setting and circumstance comes through in the unique atmosphere and dramatic arch of the whole album. As Farah is also a prolific visual artist, Time Sketches comes with a booklet containing a different ink drawing to accompany each piece.