A homely piano album for a slice of life day.
It is difficult to remove your own preferences and experiences from music when you come to review something and that applies heavily to Pat Jaffe’s beautiful debut album ‘Eldorado’. A primarily piano-based album at its heart, Pat Jaffe has created nine songs that all feel like they are meandering journeys to somewhere. Its unrushed demeanour makes me instantly hark back to one thing – a slice of life anime. Let me explain.
Pat Jaffe composes each of his songs with thought and reflection. The piano is warm, simple and untouched by crazy production. The Siggi String Quartet, who join Pat for two of the songs, is lush and full-bodied. It all makes me think of Japanese composers and specifically piano arrangements of game music and a slice of life anime.
Hearing ‘Hannah’ evokes lazy days in the garden with a warm spring sun. It is both delicate and uplifting. ‘Grandma’s Song’, ‘Flow’ and ‘Wrong Train Home’ remind me of the recent Final Fantasy Piano Collection renditions. They have a fluid poise to them that all feel like character or location themes that you can lilt with. Each piece takes a splash of jazz, chamber music and dare I say the wild west and mixes them up in different quantities. It means that Jaffe’s music doesn’t feel quite like jazz nor chamber nor strictly classical either and that’s why I find his style aligns closer to soundtrack arrangements.
Four tracks in particular really struck a chord with me and they all follow a certain pattern. Take the title track for example. The riff and rhythm continues to build in complexity over time as if you are gaining momentum – or more heart. The piano becomes more vigorous and bountiful before hitting a cyclic spiral and giving you a melodic payoff you really feel. Then towards the end of the track, Pat Jaffe turns a heavy loud pedal into the tiniest tinkle as the song twinkles into nothing. It is inspired and emotive. ‘Julesang’, ‘Catharsis’ (complete with the Siggi String Quartet) and ‘Infinity Bridge’ all do something similar. Yet, as each song feels unique and has a different tone, it doesn’t get boring – you feel like you are still on a journey.
‘Eldorado’ will be an album that like many on this site, will end up gaining more momentum as time goes on. Its a word of mouth album and I’m happy to spread it. It is an album you’ll really click with when you need to unwind and slow down. I want to hear it when I’m in a quiet village for the ultimate effect to take hold. Now I want Pat Jaffe to write character themes for RPG characters too!
Recommended track: Eldorado
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