Some people write narratives with words, some with visuals, but some very talented people can construct pseudo-narratives from music itself. Teo Milea has the rare ability to do all this with only the use of his piano, and his latest album, Open Minds, finds him crafting emotional and cinematic pieces that feel pulled right out of a movie, as well as several more classical pieces. Although he doesn’t yet have the pedigree of a John Williams or James Horner, he certainly has the talent to get there one day.
Opening on the vastly emotional “Cathedral”, the album starts in a gloomy place. The song truly opens halfway through when it extends to the low end of the piano, lending some devastating weight to the sombre emotion of the song. Things start looking up as the song hits a major key and slowly starts building towards a brighter feeling but alas it appears to be another dashed hope in the sad world it creates.
There’s a brighter and more hopeful feeling on “Streets in Crayon,” almost like a ray of sunlight emerging from the depths of “Cathedral.” The song slowly accelerates and then stops, repeating this cycle as it grows more emotional, almost like its breathing. The song then grows quiet as the sombre nature returns until it hits its stride in a burst of arpeggios, as the song continues to breathe until it runs out of breath and is reduced to single key sections of a once vibrant string of notes.
If “Streets In Crayon” was a ray of sunlight then, the appropriately titled “1st Sun” is the full shine.. As soon as the bass section of the keyboard comes in, a sense of grandeur takes hold of the piece as it gains a new sense of brilliance. The song then takes an amazing left turn as it gains an almost baroque tone to it as it climaxes in what feels like the classical equivalent of a solo-chorus, as the chords progress with tear-jerking beauty and resolves on a satisfying little scale.
“Forever Yours” starts on a completely different note, going completely dark, and moving the album into its most classical-sounding track. Its hook is eerily familiar yet new and its bright moments make the darkness all the more powerful. The song continues down this mysterious, dark path, picking up speed along the way. The song then switches into a staccato attack before returning to its dark roots to end the song.
“Silence” returns to the cinematic sadness with a burning intensity, feeling like it has a story hidden deep in its chords more than any other song on the record. The finale to the song, brings the emotion to a climax before it fades on its sombre ending.
The album closes on the also appropriately named “Journey” which crafts powerful visuals of a narrative to go along with the music. The racing piano runs create a sense of rush that feels pulled right from a frantic love story, with so much energy and delight poured in its hard not to feel your heart strings being pulled as the song goes on.
Although pieces will run long, listeners with the titular open minds will find something beautiful in this album. It’s shocking Milea hasn’t scored any films or television yet as he certainly writes music with the power to elevate such media. If the climax of “1st Sun” is any indication, Milea has enough talent in him to become not only one of the next great piano players, but composers too.