Disarray" is Elijah Bossenbroek's debut CD. One
might, therefore, expect an album full of flaws- but
nothing could be further from the truth. Elijah has
created an outstanding first album which will blow
away the listener. Fresh, original and tremendous
fun are words I would use to describe the music of
this young Arizona-based pianist.
begged for and then intensely disliked piano lessons
due to their rigidness, for some time Elijah
abandoned the piano even though those around him
would constantly lavish praise upon him. An offer
from his mother to stay at home and record his music
by supporting him financially (thus enabling him to
give up his "dead-end" job) was the final piece in
the complicated jigsaw puzzle that eventually saw
the release of this superb album.
have read the Piano-Heaven review of Elijah's other
CD, ‘Carpe Lumen’ or those already familiar with
this artist, will not be surprised to read that this
album takes much the same shape as his other stellar
work. Introduce a delicate and pretty little melody,
develop it, increase the tempo and dynamics, and
then return to the original starting point- is
basically the structure Elijah follows. It is one
that works incredibly well for him.
The CD opens
with ‘On the Wings’. As expected a quiet, reflective
opening- but it does not take long for his trademark
sound to surface. In keeping with every track on
this (and his other) CD, the music is very easy to
listen to- and immediately engaging. Although it
would work perfectly well as background music, these
tracks deserve the listener's full attention.
for melody is again evident in the second track,
‘The Calm Before’. It has a hymn-like opening, and I
know God has been a great influence on this
composer. Soon enough, the ‘Elijah-effect’ takes
hold and the composition becomes recognisable as one
of his. Elijah has a very distinct style. I'd like
to think that given a hundred tracks from a hundred
different composers, I'd be able to pick out his.
Great technique is displayed as the "Calm Before"
section clearly ends and the fun begins!
Track three is
entitled, ‘Harmony in Disarray’. The title would
suggest a disjointed affair, but this is most
pleasing to the ear. This is actually one of
Elijah's slower pieces, so perhaps the title refers
more to a difficult time in the composer's life. The
music is well structured and very melodic.
The next track,
‘Spinning Nowhere’ starts off innocently enough.
That soon changes, as I am sure the reader has come
to realise. Does this track represent Elijah feeling
that his life was going no where? The music is far
from depressing. In fact, my fingers dance as I
listen. The track's final form must be of great
pleasure to the composer. Earlier in his life, he
was frustrated by his inability to perform the music
he had in his head- he felt his hands just weren't
up to the fast-tempo that the music demanded. Well,
I am pleased to report his fingers hit all the right
notes and in World-Record time too. This composition
reminds me of the style of Philip Aaberg
(‘Live from Montana’, ‘Blue-West’) and a little of
George Winston at his most playful.
Elijah Bossenbroek track is number five- ‘A Song of
Simplicity’. There is nothing simple about his
playing, but the song has a fairly straight-forward
melody line. It is simply gorgeous, and a quick read
of all the reviews at CD Baby (can any other CD have
so many positive customer comments at this
web-site?) show that this is indeed a very popular
track. In fact, Elijah remixed it for his follow-up
album, Carpe Lumen. Listen to the sample by clicking
the Piano-Heaven logo at the bottom of this review.
I'm also in
love with ‘Promises’. How Elijah comes up with these
gorgeous melodies time after time is beyond me. Make
no mistake, this man has a gift in music. The track
is another favourite in an album full of favourites.
Beginnings’ is a significant track, for a more
stripped-down version of this was actually the
musician's first composition, and the one that made
his mother realise that her son had a special gift
that she couldn't see going to waste. Needless to
say, it is lovely and it is not difficult to
envisage- even in its more basic form- why Mrs.
Bossenbroek saw so much potential in the music she
Track eight is
entitled ‘Ignorance’. A more delightful opening to a
track you'd be hard-pressed to hear. Who is ignorant
and about what remains unclear, perhaps rather
appropriately so. Whilst this track does develop,
it's definitely one of the slower works to come out
out of the Elijah stable. And that is part of its
appeal- the melody comes through very clearly. There
are parts of this track that remind me of a little
pattern continues with the opening of ‘Please’ and
is almost minimalist in form. The tempo picks up, as
do the dynamics. This track reminds me very much of
something that Michael Allen Harrison might
create. Again, it's a faultless composition.
If, as I
suspect, the music on this CD is basically a
biography of the life of the composer, his life took
a turn for the better as we reach the penultimate
track. New-found love and marriage, a CD release
imminent- all is well with life. Not surprisingly
this is a happy, feel-good track.
track, ‘Leaps and Bounds’ came as quite a shock.
From what is basically a solo-piano album, the
listener is suddenly introduced to sustained
synthesiser embellishments, with the piano
occasionally coming in with a handful of notes in
parts. Gradually, the piano takes the lead with the
synthesisers relegated to the background. If I
hadn't heard Elijah's follow-up album, I'd have
suggested that the composer was experimenting with a
possible change in direction. I think the music the
listener hears in the final track is Elijah at play,
having some fun. ‘Leaps and Bounds’ is a happy
title, and this is an upbeat and refreshing track.
It's different, and ends the CD in an entertaining
way. Expect the unexpected with Elijah!
I enjoyed the
brief notes within the CD insert. I'm not sure
whether he's joking or being serious (more than
likely a combination of both!) when he says, "First,
I would like to thank you for purchasing this CD; I
can now eat tonight.’ I think a statement like this
actually reveals Elijah's personality, and his
energy for life comes through very clearly in the
compositions that he creates. Another thing I
particularly liked about this CD was the clarity of
the piano playing. I think that on ‘Carpe Lumen’,
Elijah uses a combination of piano / digital piano /
keyboards, but to this novice's ears, it is the
sound only of a piano that comes through.
album from start to finish. I thoroughly recommend
‘Harmony in Disarray’, together with ‘Carpe Lumen’.
I think this artist has big things ahead of him. He
is a real talent and can go only go from strength to
strength. Bravo, Elijah!