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John Beisdale - "Piano Today"


"This is by far Farnham’s most powerful and best. Emotionally charged, honest, and moving, it is a new concept on the baby or pregnancy album. While most focus on slow-moving “yogalike” music, Farnham’s “Baby” album captures the very essence of the stages of pregnancy by treating each phase as a separate piece of music. Farnham has the unique gift of making all his CDs sound like compilation albums, creating the illusion that each piece was composed by a different artist, and “Baby” is no exception. Each piece is completely independent of the next, yet somehow all the tracks seem to flow into each other seamlessly. The melodies swirl and dance just like the rich blue tones in the abstract paintings on the cover and tray art, painted by Farnham’s friend and Hollywood actor, Jennica Schwartzman. Oh, and by the way, you don't have to be pregnant to enjoy this album; we have two copies- it now occupies the number one slot in my car's 5-disc CD changer, and my wife enjoys it for her intense yoga workouts :-)

My favorite and personally what I believe to be Farnham’s best work to date, from any of his albums, is “In Labor (It’s Time)”. It is simply piano, cello, and sparse electric landscape Daniel Lanois-ish guitar, this piece truly allows you to see the labor happening, as if it were written for the scene to be depicted in a film. The piano is serious, plunking out only three repeating chords, while the cello and guitar ebb and flow around it. Sometimes the greatest masterpieces are the most basic, and this would apply here. There is a part in the piece toward the end where a clear connection has been made between the mother and soon to be born baby, reminiscent of the latter half of “Blood of Eden” by Peter Gabriel. This short piece then drops off at the end and moves into “The Birth”, a gorgeous vocal-only harmony. Symbolic of a newborn baby, naked to the world, the choir is equally bare, without any additional instrumentation. 

One of the great nuances of this album I noticed is the presence of depth within the pieces. On multiple tracks you can actually hear the subtleties of piano pedals being pressed, baritone guitar strings sliding and cellos buzzing, and it’s a refreshing change from most of the overproduced, over-polished albums of today. It has a genuinely human kind of feel, and what better way to present an album called 'Baby'”.