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Escape Velocity reviews

"chops to burn...ears saturated in music. Intense"
Coda Magazine, July/August 1999

Review by Marc Chénard "Piano Music On CD" in CODA MAGAZINE, Issue 286, July/August 1999

A Vancouver-based performer-composer and radio broadcaster, ANDREW CZINK reveals himself as a consummate technician with plenty of chops to burn. His pianisms are unrelenting, intense, but still harmonically based. In six cuts ranging from around 7 minutes to over 12, he makes full use of the keyboard, but keeps his playing over the ivories. His multiple influences from jazz, non-western musics and contemporary classical spill over here and there, but the allusions are oblique and readily washed away in the sweeping sonic undertow. There is much to be impressed with in his accomplished playing, and one comes out of these 56 minutes with ears saturated in music. Intense.

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Review by George "Extreme Reviewing" Zahora, Splendidezine.com, June 1998

Escape Velocity is repeatedly described as "extreme piano" -- meaning, of course, that it's intended to be listened to while snowboarding or skydiving. Don't panic, that was a joke. Actually, the "extreme" nature of Czink's solo compositions lies in their tendency to teeter on the boundary between conventional piano works and wild improvisation, abandoning traditional melodic structure in favor of tonal and textural explorations. Such is Czink's background, however, that although nothing here sounds like a Windham Hill sampler, he doesn't use the word "improvisation" as an excuse to bank his head on the keyboard, pound the keys with his hands or let household pets wander over them -- bereft of plan or order, discipline remains. This extends to the oscillations/currents/scales of "Strange Attractor, Part 1", the gradual petal-unfolding of "Mind's Rose" and the nervous, jumpy energy of "Paranoid Toetap", which judders cheerily along, bristling with indecision and uncertainty. However, despite the feverish qualities of "Organic Delirium" and the disturbing disharmonies of "Surfaces and Depths", Escape Velocity never becomes unlistenable -- at its most challenging, it retains a sonic civility that makes it as viable for Sunday morning coffee as for an avant garde gallery opening type of event. In a medium where challenging the listener so often results in "ghettoization" of the genre, Czink has achieved an impressive feat.