This instrumental CD features a variety of genuine instruments, featuring piano, guitar, a fretless bass, and some percussion. The instruments are played with great feeling and skill. Franklin plays the guitar, piano, and percussion. He is joined by bass player Michael Manring, who contributes some really fantastic bottom-end riffs.
The album contains 18 original mood songs. These are thoughtful, introspective pieces that are expressive but not conflicted. The album is intended to promote insights into the inner self. The tracks range from 1.3 minutes to nearly 7 minutes.
Instrumental content goes from solo, duo, to trio playing. The texture, harmony, and intonation also keep switching so the material remains interesting throughout the album. The musical texture often features open chords that give a sense of expectation, space, and openness. Franklin found his inspiration for the pieces from numerous real-life sources and events.
The piano tracks “Shifting Landscapes – Dawn” and “Shifting Landscapes – Dusk” offer contrasting feelings and instrumental settings. The following Track 6: Song for the Dreaming is a luscious guitar-bass duet that juggles the counter-point of a complex riff and chordal progression. The final three songs are particularly pensive and nudge the listener toward a sense of internal resolution.
“Playing With Shadows” is a fine introspective collection of compositions from a musician who has produced many other kinds of music during his career. This is a good album to play when the mind is scattered or distressed by upsets as the music helps to ground and center emotions. The songs flow intelligently from beginning to end; the effect of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: David Franklin
David Franklin, 2015