The internet created a new a form of connection unlike anything humanity had ever seen before, a way for people to unify without physically being together. This connection built a culture of sharers, a new age of discovery and giving.
Sharing art, news and hilarious videos are second nature, a natural act we commit without much thought. Anything fascinating doesn’t stay a secret long. We are compelled to show and tell like fifth graders who love nothing more than presenting prized possessions to classmates.
Maybe that’s why I was surprised to receive an email containing an Apple Music link to Piano Tribute to Frank Ocean, a 50-minute rendition of Frank Ocean’s Blonde done completely on piano.
The album has existed on Apple Music and Spotify since March 19, but it has received zero coverage from blogs, not a single post on Reddit, and considering his huge army of fans, not a single whisper is being made surrounding this creation. Frank fans are fanatics, rarely does anything about him slip below the radar. Yet, this tribute album has done just that.
The pianist behind Piano Tribute is unknown and searching Google and Tumblr were dead ends leading nowhere. He is simply known as Blond Piano, a mystery figure shrouded in just as many questions as the music.
If the release was amateurish, maybe the lack of acknowledgment would correlate with the quality. This isn’t the case, though. Piano Tribute to Frank Ocean is good—no, better than good. Holy shit, it’s downright magical. Musically, this is the closest you will get to being purified in the waters of Lake Minnetonka without traveling to Minnesota.
The unknown pianist brings a new beauty to an already elegant soundtrack. His playing is like being showered in a soft downpour of raindrops—gentle, yet refreshing. His rendition of Frank’s melodies are incredible, he captures the essence of each song but also adds a feeling you don’t get when lost in words and vocals. “Solo” has the white purity of a wedding gown, “Nights” sounds as if you’re underneath the moon’s gaze with only the stars to provide conversation, and there’s a blissfulness to “Futra Free” that will make you feel weightless and free of all worries.
The entire project is like watching elegance in motion, the piano version of a ballerina performing Swan Lake on ice skates. As a fan of Blonde, someone who has spent countless hours with the album, this rendition is a must-listen for any fan of Frank.
Cover versions are common. Art inspires art, and other artists giving their personal takes can be seen, acknowledged and praised by the very artists they cover. What’s strange about Piano Tribute to Frank Ocean is that the excellence has no face or name. Nothing is attached that could lead us to discover who made this beautiful tribute. We’re used to artists concealing their identities in a post-Weeknd industry, but this doesn’t seem like mystique as an aesthetic tool, but someone with no desire to be found. I feel like Professor Lambeau in Good Will Hunting, wondering the identity of the genius that solved the difficult math equation. The world may never know.
Due to this being an unauthorized release, the chances of the album being taken down from iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify are high. Part of me wanted to keep the album secret, shared amongst few, but that goes against the nature of sharing. So I share this with you, hoping that you hear the same beauty that I do. Maybe this post will inspire the genius to come forth so we can collectively shower him or her with well-deserved praise.
By Yoh, aka Blond Writer, aka @Yoh31