The EP opens with ‘Mother’s Day’, unexpectedly beginning with some reversed sound effects, before he delves into his distinctive piano style. The piece is very minimalistic in technique, relying almost exclusively on arpeggios – a very effective technique in drawing out the expressive harmonies and creating a strong mood. Reminiscent of the likes of Ludovico Einaudi, the right-hand melodic lines subtly demonstrate Bennett’s advanced playing ability. And the piece isn’t only piano: halfway through, some synthesised strings enter, and although they’re clearly synthetic – Bennett’s strength is in performance, not production – they still convey the exact feel he is going for. The piece ends with some similar effects to those we heard at the start, and overall, he manages to express a great deal through comparatively little throughout. Comparatively, ‘Clap’ – the shortest piece on the EP by quite some margin – is a display of composition over performance, with hardly any piano – instead being largely percussive, with both tuned and untuned instruments used extensively. Particularly timbrally interesting, it’s the metallic sounds that stand out the most. There are a few sections here that don’t flow perfectly, but these criticisms are only minor, and really quite nitpicky.
Back to the piano, it’s clear from the off that ‘Kneel’ is another display of performance – in fact, even more so that ‘Mother’s Day’ in fact, as it’s immediately obvious that this is very advanced in its nature. Again, Bennett is utilising the arpeggios, but not in as minimal a way as ‘Mother’s Day’ – there are plenty of changes found here. Some of the lower tones are beautifully placed; and the additional synths toward the end work excellently too, and are a great addition. The piece ends with the most minimal outro of the whole EP – relying only on single notes for an extended section; and with it’s fantastic harmonies, exceptional playing, and fine display of compositional ability, the piece stands as the best of the EP. Finally, in ‘The Longest March’, Bennett uses his favourite technique once again, arpeggiating the chordal changes to draw out all the notes as clearly as possible, fully realising the harmonies. He’s used those unfortunate synthetic strings again here, which is a little distracting, but there’s no denying that the tonal choices are fantastic – and I’d love to hear what it sounds like with an actual string section. The piece is quite slow-moving, and takes a while to go anywhere, so the resultant emotion isn’t as forthcoming as the other pieces, but the journey is still quite the spectacle; and once the bass enters about halfway through, it becomes clear just how much of a storyteller Bennett is with his music – every emotion he creates is ultimately received exactly the way it is intended.
I have absolutely nothing but positive things to say about Bennett’s music theory videos, and with this debut EP, I’m pleased to report that his skill is also apparent in his playing and composition abilities. I was perhaps expecting something a little more jazzy, but am nonetheless still very impressed. With influences from the world of minimalism, as well acts such as Penguin Café Orchestra or the Cinematic Orchestra known for expertly fusing pop with more Classical influences, Bennett has developed a playing style that is distinctly and recognisably his. It’s a very relaxing listen, and just the type of thing to gently soothe us as we approach the end of 2020. A brilliant debut EP; and from one pianist to another, I can only congratulate Bennett.