Music & Opinion for the 21st Century
Timothy Cooper – GLOBAL SKIES: It’s amazing (to me) how long it’s been since I last reviewed Timothy’s fantastic piano works (issue # 89)… his new 2017 release will totally blow your mind, as well as lift your spirit to new heights. As you listen to pieces like the beautiful 7:06 “Bangkok Rains“, you’ll find yourself joined in his global adventure – most pleasantly, I might add. Timothy’s piano style is very straight forward and full of life, which will make you a fan immediately. The title track, “Global Skies“, will help you feel the power of the diversity that (in the end-run) can bring us all together on our often fractured planet. My personal favorite of the nine compositions offered up is one of the shorter pieces (5:45), the closer, “The Light After“… the chord structure that Timothy paints with here is rich and full of the textures of the hope we all need to be better folks. I give Timothy a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this excellent album. Get more information on Timothy’s page for the release.
-- Rotcod Zzaj
New Age Music Guide
Timothy Cooper’s new album is called «Global Skies». The album is both beautiful and poetic, illustrating the fact that as seen from above our world is truly without artificial borders. «Global Skies» is one of 2017’s finest solo piano albums.
Timothy Cooper’s two previous solo piano releases are «Light on the Water» and «East Wind». Currently he leads a consortium of majorinternational companies in an effort to help low-lying nations in Asia mitigate the devastating impact of sea level rise through the use of sensible environmental practices. From 2002-2010, Timothy Cooper served as executive director of World Rights, a non-governmental organization specializing in human rights and environmental issues. In 2016, he published a major article in the Global Policy Journal about a new strategy for achieving a lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace.
Listening to «Global Skies» makes me think of Matthias Claudius’ classical German quote: «Wenn jemand eine Reise tut, so kann er was erzahlen», loosely translated to «Travelling gives you plenty of stories to tell». So is also the case with Timothy Cooper. «Global Skies» is a collection of memories and atmospheres from his many travels. Each song is like a well-written postcard from someone you trust and respect.
The album starts with the sound of nature, namely distant thunder, wind and rain. Gently Timothy’s piano fills the audio canvas with life and expression. A bright new day emerges, and the rain is soon nothing but a fading memory. It is a very visual melody; you can see, feel and sense that this day holds a promise of happiness. I love the dramatic ending; notice how the dark notes fade into silence. It is beautiful beyond words.
Then we change continents in a flash. We find ourselves in Prague, gazing at the ancient horizon. It is a positive and optimistic song, and it is impossible to feel down while listening to it. The fact that Timothy is a master pianist gives the song an extra edge. Next track, «Geneva Moonlight Rainbow», is more thoughtful. Darkness has fallen, yet moonlight and rain (or perhaps a fountain) is able to create a rainbow. Under such circumstances Geneva must look like a magical place. I like how the song evolves. There’s a wonderful verve to it, which makes it a very satisfying listen.
When we land in Bangkok, the clouds are grey and there is a fresh rain in the air. But that doesn’t put a damper on our mood. «Bangkok Rains» is a fantastic piano melody! Rain is falling, but it is warm and merely a side note to an otherwise gorgeous day. The song is quite complex. There’re many twists and turns to enjoy, and the ending is played with force and passion. Then there’s a quiet change in scenery. Night is falling in Warsaw, and Timothy takes us there to witness it. The Polish capital is illuminated by artificial light, and above that is nothing but darkness. «Warsaw Nights» is a breathtakingly beautiful song, and the 8 minutes and 30 seconds are gone before you know it.
I very much like the recording. In an age where ultra-high definition recordings give a perfect digital result, much of the warmth seems to disappear. That is not the case with «Global Skies». It is a very dynamical recording. The piano has a rich, deep and lush sound.
Listening to the title track makes me think of time-lapse videos of our planet. Here we can see how clouds travel unhindered clear across the planet. Timothy is right; the skies above are truly global. «Global Skies» is positive song with a great flow. Timothy uses some nice piano techniques to make rolling, seemingly endless sounds, illustrating the majesty of the heavens.
One of the great things about travel is that you have the time to think, to reflect. Even on a busy business trip, you constantly find yourself waiting for something or someone. I think «Jerusalem Dreamings» is about waiting and just letting your mind wander, while you take in the foreign landscapes around you.
Then we get a 14 minutes long reprise of the wonderful «Geneva Moonlight Rainbow». The song is like an EP in itself, and can be played as a standalone release. I like how selected parts have been enlarged and refined, while the atmosphere is the same as the original song. It has a great meditative quality. The last song on the album is «The Light After». It might be the best song here, especially since it has two parts with entirely different sounds. Notice how the first part flows effortlessly over into the next. «The Light After» makes sure that the album ends on a high, operatic note.
In conclusion: «Global Skies» by Timothy Cooper is a fantastic release! It is one of those albums that makes you think. When we travel, we tend to look for everything new and different. But unless you are living on the international space station, we are all living under the same sky. It’s a powerful and important thought. This, and its melodic qualities, makes «Global Skies» into an unforgettable album.
Global Skies By Timothy Cooper
Review Written by Steve Sheppard
Timothy Cooper is a man after my own heart, a tireless traveller, one who loves to listen to people’s views and opinions from different cultures, he also has a passion to bring the world together through music, I seem to have heard that somewhere before as well. So with all the stars in alignment, let us take part in yet another masterful musical journey of the piano.
Our voyage begins with the thunderous Singapore Sunrise, I adored this beginning, and Cooper’s proficiency on the keys delivers a wonderful sculpture of tone that slowly increases in intensity, as the foot falls of the day take hold.
Prague Horizons is a smooth and fluent cascade of music that floats down past the cobbled streets and along the river walk ways, and is a shining example of artistry within music; Cooper’s performance literally takes you there with every touch of the keys.
There is an essence of melancholy within this piece that is so attractive, Cooper paints with darker colours on Geneva Moonlight Rainbow, and brings forth a memorable and reflective opus of something found and then lost, something so pure and loving, that seems to just withier away in the mists of time. The performance here is deeply moving and will make you want to hit repeat numerous times.
The descriptive narrative on Bangkok Rains is sublime; the artist creates a realm of ambience here in music that is truly rare. I found my thoughts focused on the trickling down notes and I watched the sunlight perform a symbiotic dance with my palm tree, I gazed upon a November butterfly and became one with the moment. Credit to that reverie can solely be placed at the door of this quite superb composition, one that will manifest any dream you wish, whether it be a vista in Bangkok or something closer to home.
Warsaw Nights is a really fascinating composition that you will need to visit many times over to grasp the true narrative of the arrangement and all the nuances thus contained within. After reading the information that came with the album, I could picture the wider scene, the decline of the Soviet Empire and once this darkness left, the courage of the people to continue to move onward and into the light of new possibilities, the performance on Warsaw Nights sums that up perfectly.
The title track is now upon us, that ever so special canvas that the artist can draw for us on and describe in music the overview of the entire project. Global Skies, the track has a real sense of movement for me, one could with ease depict new beginnings and unfettered pathways that can now be walked with a certain freedom of spirit. I found this piece most liberating and empowering.
A few hundred miles to my left lays Jerusalem, and within the piece Jerusalem Dreamings, a similar energy of light as we get here in Cyprus can be found, the sun is dominant, but also very healing and that musical panacea is something that I find so alluring in this composition as well. To be honest, I loved this arrangement and I found its melody and tempo so deeply moving and beautiful, and on this gloriously sunny day, it brought me such a depth of peace that was simply blissful.
The penultimate offering on Global Skies is Geneva Moonlight Rainbow (Reprise), at fourteen minutes plus this is also by far the longest composition off the album, and gifts us, and the musician, a long form moment within which to reflect once more on what might have been. There have also been moments on my travels that I really never wanted to end, I never wanted to leave, but through honesty and clarity, you could tell your time, that moment had been done.
Our last stop in our musical expedition with Timothy Cooper comes in the guise of a track called The Light After. One feels that this is that all hallowed place of sanctuary that we all seek, a light in the darkness that we wish to head towards. I found this once more very empowering, this could easily be an anthem for a new world, you know, the one where we see each other as equals and allow ourselves to bathe in respect and harmony. Performance wise, that march into the light seems to have been victorious at around the three and a half minute mark, as Cooper plays a upbeat narrative till the end that has a lush and wonderful sense of happiness and success built into its construction, and what a splendid way to end the release.
Timothy Cooper and Global Skies is an album that raises the spirits and offers moments of reflection to be taken, it is an album that has power, intensity and passion, but also a layer of sensitivity that must not be missed. Global Skies gives us that ever eager listener time to sample the beauty of our planet through the piano, and perhaps, just perhaps, an opportunity to see the light and choose peace through music.
2017 / Timothy Cooper
Review by Kathy Parsons
Global Skies is the third solo piano release from pianist/composer Timothy Cooper and his first album since 2008. Many artists hope to change the world for the better with their music, but Cooper does this in a very big way with his film-making, books and photography in addition to his music. In his work, Cooper travels the world as an advocate for human rights and is a tireless worker in helping other countries improve their environmental and sociological positions. What he has seen and the people he’s met in his travels were the inspiration for the music on this album. “The more I travel, the more I cross cultures and borders, the more I listen to people with divergent views speak their minds, the more I appreciate the world’s breathtaking diversity and recognize it for what I think it is: humanity’s greatest strength…. On the album, Global Skies, I created music from my heart crying out for that new world.”
From 2002-2010, Cooper served as the executive director for World Rights, a non-governmental organization specializing in human rights and environmental issues. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Peace Civic Forum, a Washington, DC-based group established in association with the J. William and Harriet Fulbright Center. In 2016, he published a major article in Global Policy Journal about a new strategy for achieving a lasting Palestinian/Israeli peace. Obviously, Cooper is not someone just hoping or wishing for a better world - he has been devoting his life toward that goal, and I deeply admire and appreciate that! Thank you, Timothy Cooper!
The nine original pieces on the album are varied and reflect on a wide range of places and experiences. “My music is meant to please the listener, but it is also about a new worldwide call for action. It is about human liberation and freedom, renewal and resurgence, creating rather than destroying, and protecting our planet…. It is about humankind’s indomitable spirit and desire for a better world.” That says more about the music than any words I could write.
Global Skies begins with the sound of rain and thunder as the intro to “Singapore Sunrise,” which is symbolic of “the moment when love arises in a distant land, born out of storm and rain.” Over the seven-minute piece, many themes intertwine to tell the story. “Prague Horizons” reflects on the realization that “we can still expand the horizons in our minds with thought, dreams and imagination.” Upbeat with an optimistic energy, it’s a favorite. “Geneva Moonlight Rainbow” is a rhapsody about “the mystifying polarity of love” and the opposite effects that often accompany that deepest of emotions. The piece is often questioning, passionate and dramatic and appears on the album in two forms - a 6-minute version and a 14-minute reprise. The title track is about “overcoming prejudice by walking new pathways, crossing borders and making connections, integrating everyone into a new world.” A vibrant and heart-opening excitement runs throughout this piece. The smooth and lyrical “Jerusalem Dreamings” is about the dream of peace and is another favorite. “The Light After” is Cooper’s “anthem celebrating peace following the tragedy and ravages of senseless war. Peace is a gift to cherish and sustain. Peace is paradise on earth.” Amen.
Global Skies is an intense and powerful listening experience and is an album that reveals more of itself each time you hear it. May Timothy Cooper’s endeavors succeed beyond any of our wildest dreams! The album is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.