Julien Brocal – Mompou & Ravel: Reflections

julienbrocalSo, who the fuck is Mompou?

Mompou was a Spanish dude who wrote minimalist shit like Satie or Fauré. Most motherfuckers know Satie cause Gymnopédie No. 1 is fucking everywhere. You can’t turn a corner, change a channel, or watch a movie without some Hannibal-like motherfucker chowing down on a piece of extinct panda and describing quintal harmony to some poor girl tied to a chair. Mompou got overlooked. And I get it. I understand the reasons. Dude didn’t always write bubble happy-go-lucky boy band easy-to-shallow waltzy songs (now in cherry-flavoured chewable tablets!) But, neither did Satie, if you listen. Mompou’s writing is delicate, evanescent, if you breathe too hard or, god-fucking-forbid, if you sneeze, that shit’s gone. Whoof! Like it never existed.

Then there’s Ravel. When motherfuckers talk about how to play Ravel well, they wax poetic about colours and shades and shit. But fuck that. You want colours? Go fingerpaint. Ravel is technical and light. Think of juggling and dancing ballet at the same time. Focus too much on juggling and the ballet will go to shit. It’ll get all rigid and the audience will be able to see the strings. Shit won’t look natural. And if that shit’s not fluid, it just comes off as disrespectful. On the other hand, focus too much on the ballet and you’ll literally drop the ball. It gets all mushed together and it looks super gimmicky, incredibly irritating, and lame as fuck when some overtrained ballet dancer is throwing balls at your face. 

That’s where we get to Julien Brocal. This motherfucker is some young thug hitting up the scene with his dancing fingers. You can tell he’s young cause he ends the album, after playing songs exclusively from Ravel and Mompou, with his own song, just for kicks. The balls on this fucking kid. And it works. He can juggle, dance, play water polo, all while blowing a bubble and make that shit look effortless. Or, at least it seems that way when he plays piano. 

You can go deep on this album or throw it on in the back. What becomes glaringly obvious, either way, is that Ravel and Mompou sound really fucking similar. And that’s what makes the album. Sure, Julien’s playing is chief, but it’s that side-by-side of two great composers that makes this shit glow. You’ll begin to play a guessing game of “who the fuck is playing now”. It will legit help you learn the nuances of structure and form, the subtleties of varying emotion, and you can look fly as hell next time you’re ever in some swanky digs and some Hannibal-like motherfucker goes to talk about the subtleties of Satie. 

“Satie!” you’ll scream, while gently replacing your monocle, “Mais c’est Mompou, you ignorant panda-eating fuck!”


4 thoughts on “Julien Brocal – Mompou & Ravel: Reflections

    • (Internal Dialogue: Oh shit, we have the same thoughts? Are they thinking what I’m thinking right now? What if we are the same person? Could this be me from an alternate universe? Wait, why would I have the exact same thoughts as alternate me if they live in a different universe where different events took place? Are all the versions of myself of the same consciousness? Am I superhuman?)

      … thanks?


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