Greg Haines' 2012 album for Preservation grows out of a collaboration, in this case with a school orchestra. That may sound a bit counterintuitive, but the result makes you wonder if he would ever need a top-flight one given the enjoyable, tactile results. The understated combination of ambience and orchestration calls to mind an expected range of performers but also perhaps a wild card or two -- "Caden Cotard," with its slow electronic/string wash and rise, could almost be something from a late-'90s Black Tape for a Blue Girl album as much as it could be Harold Budd when it comes to the piano that follows it. Beginning with "Emetti"'s soft tones, feeling like a new age church organ warmup increasingly mixed with slow string resonance and beauty, Digressions partially lives up to its name thematically in that nearly everything feels like distinct but still clearly related parts of a whole. The emphasis on piano as a key element throughout, whether as an increasingly core rhythmic element on "Azure" or setting a stage of thorough calmness on "Nuestro Pueblo," adds a gentle calm to everything. In turn, notable violin parts, especially the lead on "183 Times," add a slightly unearthly feeling, caught between stateliness and a suffused swirl of sound. The sense of steady progression upward that recurs throughout Digressions -- particularly but not exclusively as in the swelling rise to the beyond at the end of "Caden Cotard" -- adds to the album's compelling feeling.
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett