The slow and meticulous mutation of a piano riff.
To frame ‘Flux’ in its best and truest light, I have to tell you a little bit about composer and pianist Joram Feitsma first. At night, he is a composer but by day, he is a professor of science. Based in Utrecht, Joram deals with public policy. My day job is in the public sector and you are often given very abstract questions and need to distil a grand meaning of something into narrow rules, regulations and implementable structures. Oh, and a crap ton of Governance too. Sigh. This often leads you to think about your impact of changing one idea or viewpoint and how that ripples outwards.
The reason this is important is that Joram Feitsma has tried to convey some of this complex work into his new album ‘Flux’. Many of the tracks on the album are repetitive ideas where something small changes and the melody then starts to branch out little by little. This then changes the end result. Change the key pressure, what was subtle is now deafening. Change the tempo or finger roll and a once relaxing melody becomes either wonderous or overwhelming. Joram does this in different ways, largely using the piano but also bringing in some synths and a melodeon. This means that in order to enjoy ‘Flux’, you’ll need to have an appreciation for the minimal and the subtle.
Whilst this may leave a few listeners cold, there are some really great tracks found within. One of the best examples of what Joram Feitsma does here is the track ‘Loved’. It is a simple phrase that never sounds the same twice over its four and a half minute run. ‘Lente’ and the exquisite ‘Rue des Orteaux’ have a similar vibe too as the piano leans in and out of speed and passion. The title track is the big centrepiece. Its huge rolling upward frills are both majestic and towards the end of the track also warming and homely. I found that the tracks I really connected with melodically got under my skin as I listened to them mutate. Other tracks that were less immediate came to me on later listens but it required time and careful listening to make them click. What made me finally appreciate the album as a whole was listening to it with headphones in bed at night. To me, this is an album made for quiet meditations – like the rise and fall of deep chest breathing, the melodies and intensity rise and fall too.
Whilst ‘Flux’ isn’t for everyone, those who appreciate meditative piano pieces will really get into the albums’ spirit. Whether it is a slowly changing synth, a piano riff intensifying or a melodeon adding some flavour to the mix, you can feel the flow rise and fall. Joram has a quirky and unusual take on the slow evolution of music over time. It reminds me of waiting for a public servants governance route. The best PTSD about work pains an album could give me.
Recommended track: Flux
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