RENEWAL

“This is a phenomenal compilation.
Brilliant, powerful, reflective music.”

Review in Bearded, Peter Clark

Christmas time is usually a truly awful time for music with people releasing “fun” novelty records to rip money from your pocket, expecting us all to join in the frivolities. But occasionally there is a light in the darkness, and this year it is a record that could almost bring you to tears.

12.25 is a beautifully simple record, yet the talents of Kyle Pederson turn it into an exquisite one. The album is 11 re-workings of traditional Christmas songs, such as ‘Silent Night’, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘O Holy Night’ performed solely on piano by Kyle, and it is spellbinding. The piano is the perfect instrument for these new musical arrangements as they capture the heartbreaking sadness and desolation that some of these tracks encompass, but the skill to which the recordings are delivered show Kyle to be a master of his art.

Much like how the best cover versions manage to shed a new light on a familiar track, this collection of songs works because, although a lot of the tracks are still familiar, they are pieces of music which you can listen to all year round, and that is not something to be said of Christmas songs. A track such as ‘Gabriel’s Message’ carries a hurried passion that Yann Tiersen has mastered his craft through, and one in which could see Kyle Pederson reach a similar stature.

It would be wrong to see this as background music as it is compelling, and whether it whisks you off to your childhood of happier Christmases, or makes you think of the perfect Christmases portrayed on TV of clear dark nights, candlelight and roaring fires, and gentle snow fall in New York, or if indeed the images of the seasonal holidays are thrown aside for the sheer appreciation of the musicianship on display, 12.25 is a truly wonderful collection of music, and one that Bearded shall be playing, again, as the dark winter nights thrust us indoors.