Robert Diack - Small Bridges

What if John Scofield opened for Sigur Rós?

Robert Diack - Small Bridges
Robert Diack. Photo: Patrick O'Reilly

From the first light kick of his bass drum through the evolution of track one into a soundtrack-worthy epic, Robert Diack immediately shows you that he has his own way of going about things.

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Robert's compositional bona fides, like Philip Glass and Dan Weiss, reveal themselves in press materials which are as deliberate as the music. Robert identifies "Vibes" for each track and serializes what would be a fine review of his own album. I'd copy and paste the whole thing for you here if there weren't so many of you reading.

The piano improvisation "Depth" is the kind of arresting blow that Aaron Parks delivered to me a few years ago with "Lilac", track five of his album Little Big. Here, Jacob Thompson on piano strips everything away while exiting the first two complex tracks, both of which have guitar entrances from Patrick O'Reilly that already pierced you.

And despite it all, you have unfussy acoustic bass; it's solid playing from Brandon Davis within each arrangement.

As the album rolls through instrumental rock tunes (both massive and ambient) and riffy fusion jams – like Scofield opening for Sigur Rós – the changing drum sounds keep things fresh. It's Robert the composer, deploying his instrument to craft his album's trajectory.

This is a find-yourself record, written by Robert in New York with four years of separation from the quartet's debut album which angstily paints southern Ontario.

I'd have probably paid good money on Patreon or something to be a fly-on-the-wall for how he pitched to editorial playlists. You can only pick three genres: post-rock, jazz fusion, and ???

Plus, you have to pick one track to pitch, assuming no singles. If I had to, my pick would be "Secede", because it's pretty much all there in a tight four minutes: minimalist intro, dynamic drums, the post-rock guitars, the riffs, the drama.

That leaves the electronics, the neoclassical piano, and even some collective acoustic improvisation as the deep cuts to enjoy on the full listen.

In the quieter moments and the shorter tracks especially, Robert Diack's confidence as a composer-producer is incisive. His Instagram bio right now in its entirety is "Hopeful;" that semicolon does a lot of heavy lifting, just like all the little details that come out of this smart and rewarding record.

Small Bridges
Small Bridges Links. Available on all popular platforms.

Small Bridges: Hollow; Plex; Depth; Quicken; Houndstooth; Indigent; Sassafras; Aler; Vodemi; Secede; Loam; Dissolver; Laud; Loesoth. (55:21)

Personnel: Patrick O'Reilly on guitar; Jacob Thompson on piano; Brandon Davis on bass; Robert Diack on drums & synthesizers.