Daniel Lentz is one of a number of composers who emerged in the wake of American minimalism and used some of the movement's primary tenets to leverage a distinct, hard-to-pin-down voice. But the sweeping River of 1000 Streams, a work for solo piano and cascading delays, is anything but minimal. It's more like a slow-motion Romanticism—a flashy five-minute prelude exploded into a twenty-nine-minute aural galaxy. Lugubrious deluges of bass notes expand and crash gradually, while each crystalline fleck of luxuriant high-end shimmer seems to dance listlessly through space. It's lush and lyrical, but there's no coy phrasing or élan, just vigorously palpitating chords unfolding into majestic expanses. Occasionally, especially later in the piece, the torrents subside enough that a recognizable motif drifts into audibility, but it's seldom long before any such is washed away into the fluttering tides of sound.
One might balk, as I did before listening, at the electronic element. It's actually remarkably difficult to avoid cliché when delays are used—even when it's a more complex system. Lentz's deployment is so sly and seamless that as soon as one surrenders their ears to the music, one forgets about the electronic component altogether.
This new EP is an emotive and versatile listen, and its peculiar dialogue between romantic pastoralism and abstraction becomes increasingly intriguing with multiple listens.