Review: Michael Schäfer

Michael Schäfer, a musician in Germany, sent me a video this morning — he wanted to get my input. Here’s what I have to say.

• This guy is expressive with his face and body. You can pick up on some of the meaning of the musical statement from the faces he’s making. He’s less worried about playing correctly and more focused on telling the story. Typically I’m annoyed by face-making because of how music has been hijacked by a bunch of posers and dancers. But Michael is playing the music with his whole body, rather than trying to look cool.
• Lots of dynamics and tempo variation here. It’s not locked to a stiff, robotic grid. That’s refreshing to me.
• He’s playful about it. It’s not at all a “perfect” performance, but it’s organic and he keeps the energy moving. If you can see past the technical issues (ambient lighting and audio), it’s an impressive little composition. Pretty chords. More people should feel uninhibited about putting their ideas out with whatever gear they have, like this guy did.

He asked me if I can imagine Morgan Agren playing it, and I definitely could. I’d love to hear what this would sound like played by a full band. It would require musicians who are sensitive to the nuances of the piece — more like orchestral players than rock players.

Great job, Michael.

If anyone else would like to send me their videos for a review, put them in the Forum and I’ll post the best ones here.

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