Peter Broderick: Float

Broderick impressed mightily with his recent Kning Disk collection Docile and makes good on its promise with the debut album Float. The wardrobe may be different—he supplements the earlier release's solo piano with comparatively rich orchestration—but his distinctive compositional sensibility distinguishes both releases. Wunderkind Broderick (born in 1987) plays piano, of course, but also contributes strings (violin, viola, and cello), banjo, celeste, saw, trumpet, drums, theremin, and accordion to the album. He's been playing with Efterklang as a violinist for close to two years so one might have expected the album's material to sound rather similar to the Danish band's own, but in fact Float's piano-centered pieces are more reminiscent of Sylvain Chauveau's orchestral songs, such as those that graced his own recent Type outing Nuage. Though the jubilant opener “A Snowflake” suggests that Float's mood may be generally more light-hearted in spirit than Chauveau's tends to be, the funereal setting “A Glacier” and related meditation “Another Glacier” argue otherwise. Like Chauveau, Broderick is a restless talent whose curiosity leads him in bold directions, such as in the central track, “Stopping on the Broadway Bridge,” which is not only the album's longest but also the most unusual. Less a song than soundscape, banjo and celeste patterns (a siren too) bob to the surface of a rumbling string drone that stretches across much of the piece's seven minutes. It's not a perfect collection—“Broken Patterns” drags slightly, largely due to its plodding drum beats—but, in large part, Broderick's elegant piano-and-strings chamber style never grows old.

May 2008