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CD Feature/ Elijah Bossenbroek: "Harmony in Disarray"

img  Tobias

Sometimes browsing the web or perusing the papers is the best way to find out about an artist. In Elijah Bossenbroek’s case, it’s visiting the guestbook on his website. Filled to the brim with daily greetings of new-won fans, here is an artist who has never made it to the cover of any major magazine, nor to the Billboard charts, but who means the world to a steadily growing group of admirers and who can be seen and heard on almost every single night of the week in some club or festival or the other. Coincidentally, he has also chosen one of the hardest paths a musician could possibly take: That of a solo pianist performing his own material.

The special difficulty in persuing this career consists in the fact that you will likely not be taken serious by anyone in the beginning. Classical music fans will think you’re pop, pop fans will see you as a high-browed “artiste” and everyone else will regard you as a sort of cheap entertainer and advise you to play some tunes that people actually can clap and whistle along to. Unless, of course, you’ve got the talent to write immediate and emotive compositions with an intuitive touch, taking you outside of the critics’s and the general public’s quick reference catalogue – enter Elijah Bossenbroek. Collected on “Harmony in Disarray” are eleven compact and focussed piano pieces full of sweet autumn harmonies, melodies aimed straight at your heart and written in minor keys somewhere between a beautiful sadness and a hazy daydream. Behind all of this unashamed beauty, there is no great mystery: Elijah opens his emotions up like a book for everyone to read, pieces hold titles like “Please” or “Promises” and the music does not sheild itself from curious voyeurs by searching for important-sounding metaphors - these are neither modern experiments fathoming the sonic palette of the instrument, nor neo-classical exercises, but straight forward tracks, which work as pure and beautiful songs without words and are mournful, pensive, intimate and romantic in a catchy way. It is hard to imagine that these fragile, yet expressive aural paintings were created by a man who has lived according to the code of the US marine for years and spent some time in the burning heat of the Dubai desert. But maybe it’s exactly this seemingly unnatural balance and its bipolar psychology, which lends the pieces their intensity: You can feel very alone in a huge group of people and very cold in the glaring sun.

There are no cover versions nor Chopin renditions on “Harmony in Disarray”, and yet the material perfectly holds it own, despite tracks mostly remaining in the same mood and using simple tempo variations and dynamic changes as their main tool. In the closing “Leaps and Bounds”, synthesizer strings and a drum computer join in and the result is no bland bubblegum ballad, but a powerful and comforting finale, which sets expectations high for the next effort, which, as it seams, has already been finished. Maybe when that second album is out, you can finally turn to the web and the papers to find out about Elijah.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Elijah Bossenbroek

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