Contemporary Instrumental Review: Doug Hammer - Swim to America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)

Release Date: March 22, 2024

Label: ‎Independent


Doug Hammer has reached the end of his journey, covering Stephan Eicher's music. This is the third and final installment of a three-part series. I again continued reading and listening to a story using this music.

The opening track, "Tomorrow Will Be Your Day," is vibrant and full of life. Doug's energy and quick fingers start things off positively for the listener.

"Nur Um Di" continues with that energy and focus, energizing the listener with good vibes and exceptional artistry.

"Zrügg Zu Mir" changes tone and pace with a softer, slower rhythm. The emotion is touching and tender. Translated, it is "Zruegg to me," but I still don't know what that means.

"Demon" has dark implications; however, that is not what I heard in this beautiful track. The rhythm is steady and robust. Things pick up towards the end, touching you in a way you remember with a hint of sadness.

To me, "Still" means a certain kind of focus. The music enhances that feeling and thought process of being still, enjoying the moment, and appreciating it.

"Étrange" involves many sounds from one man's piano. It sounds like two players exchanging notes at once. I pictured what his hands were doing to get that sound, doing crossovers and complicated things like that. Beauty and purposefulness are all wrapped into one excellent package.

"Donne moi une seconde" is a moody piece. It is atmospheric and filled with anticipation of what will happen next, yet it is soothing and reassuring. It is a short but impactful exercise.

"Eldorado" is one of the longer tracks at 4:05. Starting gently and slowly, the piano eases you into its doorway. With its consistent rhythm and pace, you stay mesmerized by its power of persuasion. It engages you to be reflective.

"Haiku" is short and sweet at 1:39 and leaves you wondering what it could have been. It is a happy song that makes you think of a sunny day walking with a cool breeze brushing over your face.

"Toi et ce monde" is emotive, as if the piano is saying, "Come with me, I will give you a different view of life and yourself," and indeed it does. It promises a new day and a renewed appreciation of life. After sharing these thoughts, I read the translation, "You and this world." I was heading in the right direction with how it made me feel.

E*  is the longest track on the album and one of the most gorgeous; the rhythm and flow are perfect.  Something about the feeling and emotion of it moved me differently than all the others.

"Oh, Ironie" is a lovely way to close out this recording. It is moving with changing emotions and colors. It captures the spirit of this entire recording.

Doug Hammer's dedication and hard work were evident in all three volumes and all the compositions. I was honored to cover all of it. Anyone who appreciates instrumental solo piano music will find great joy and pleasure once they listen to the tapestry of sounds of one man with his piano on Swim to America, Vol. 3.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-NAMR Founder

March 20, 2024


01. Tomorrow Will Be Your Day 3:23

02. Nur Um Di 2:51

03. Zrügg Zu Mir 4:18

04. Demon 3:54

05. Still 2:54

06. Étrange 4:35

07. Donne moi une seconde 2:46

08. Ds Alte Paar 2:55

09. Eldorado 4:05

10. Haiku 1:39

11. Toi et ce monde 4:00

12. E*

13. Oh Ironie 3:52

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