Peter Broderick needs some fucking props.
Back in the day Peter worked with a band called Efterklang. They are/were/how-am-I-supposed-to-know (looking online for verification is a headache) an uppity band that was/are/fuck-off known to work with odd instrumentation and timing. Dude plays violin, banjo, musical saw, and mandolin. He’s been on tour with tons of folk bands and has played backing instrumentation for tons of folk albums. But, solo, this guy doesn’t play folk. He plays neoclassical with solid roots. It’s that kind of shit that lets you soar.
Straight up? Neoclassical sounds like a douchey genre name to me. It sounds like something some motherfucker would say to me while petting their shoe and drinking wine out of a hand-sized guitar case. We would be watching four people dressed up in seal outfits describing the economic after effects of the Babai revolt. This shoe person would then turn to me during the performance (named something broad like “Racism” or “Clocks”) and whisper, “Wow, it’s so neoclassical.” At this point I would wish that a god (any god at all, just take your pick) would strike me dead. But in actuality, neoclassical is supposed to mean any music inspired by classical music (now that’s a broad fucking concept). And this is the type of music Peter makes.
This album is a mix bag. It’s a collection of pieces left behind or pieces commissioned but never used. “Our Future In Wedlock” and “The Walk” were written for weddings. “Emily,” was written for an anniversary gift. “A Ride On The Bosphorus” was made for a ferry boat ride. “Robbie’s Song,” “Atlantic” and “Seeing Things” were made for films. And “If I Were a Runway Model,” was written for a fashion show. So, the first thought that came to my mind when I read about this was that it wasn’t a real album. Man, was I wrong. In fact, this might be my favourite Broderick album to date.
Somehow there is a beautiful cohesiveness to this monster mash up. The general theme is that it’s all morning coffee music. But these songs have more structure than just a general droning sound. These are songs made in the classical form. They have order, restraint, clarity, balance, and purpose (some words I would use to describe what classical music is). These are beautiful pieces soaked in classical themes but with a folk background (compared to someone like Nils Frahm who makes neoclassical music with an electronic background). They flow with ease. They don’t need to show off. Their purpose is atmosphere. No wonder Peter keeps getting commissioned to make pieces. He’s fucking fantastic at creating mood. And, sometimes, it’s the simplest of things that are the most difficult to do well. These tunes are like floating on your back in warm water but on a current of sound. It’s easy to float on top of them and let them drift you away.