BROERMAN: What Once Was Still; Ingressus; Evermore; Grief and Reprieve; My Godforsaken Self I, II and III
This is Ohio guitarist/composer Donald Broerman’s second set of recordings, and as bore he wears his heart on his sleeve, so that every one of these pieces is felt. This new album has a little over 38 minutes of his music in it, and although not yet on CD (as at July 2023) I think it will eventually make it onto CD.
What Once Was Still is sad, melodic and moves gently around the fingerboard, with some lovely harmony work that makes for a nice opener, and does set the scene for the remainder of the pieces.
Ingressus, roughly translated as Entry continues the deep feelings and the slowish speed (for nothing yet is remotely fast).Again the harmonies are utterly original and modern in sound but not atonal in any way, so it sounds new, and fresh and unlike anything else you may have heard, unless you do know this composer’s pieces, for he does have definitely a sound of his own.
Then there comes the title piece Evermore, that continues the depth of emotion in the music. Again this piece is warm and still basically sad but at some points here it tries to break out of the sadness, but in the end the falls back and everything ends as it began.
Grief and Reprieve is never going to be a fast happy piece with such a title, and so it is the case that the slow, emotional music is yet again uppermost as the piece progresses on its way. Things speed up a little towards the coda but only momentarily.
The final trilogy of pieces My Godforsaken Self opens with the longest piece on the album, over nine minutes of slightly more flowing music with a brief but telling change in the mood of the majority of the rest of the album. This doesn’t last for very long, however, and the deep and meaningful chords return, but in its nine minutes it moves in and out of many emotions. The second and shortest movement is again deeply felt with some beautiful moments and the final third movement is immediately a little faster and flowing quicker. Chords are again uppermost in the movement of the melodies, and they are always interesting and a little unusual when placed next to one another, so that it sounds , as does the rest of this album, like his own and no one else’s music.
It is beautifully recorded, and wonderfully performed, and if you like your music tonal but thought provoking then this album fits that description perfectly. The only downside is that it is very often on one level of emotion and there isn’t any piece that is fast, happy and a contrast to the emotive pieces found here, but that is only a slight criticism in what is a lovely album to get deep into and lose yourself in.