Saturday, March 30, 2013

Benjamin Kuli - 2012 - Blue Flame Candle

Classical/New Age
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My love for simple, atmospheric piano music should not be a surprise to any regular of wasfuersohr, and Benjamin Kuli is yet another gem in the rough. Its Bandcamp page sheds some light on the album’s theme: this is a contemplation of destiny and fate, ending with the conclusion that it’s “the journey which matters, not the destination.” As a result, the compositions are fairly sparse, embellished with little instrumentation and focused on simple, intuitive melodies; at times, you wonder what imaginary RPG exists for this album to soundtrack. This direct approach serves Kuli well, though. Look no further than the title track, which takes only one motif and proves less is more through the merits of good songwriting alone. The majority of the tracks here are brief, each finding ways to expand on its central idea and gracefully bowing out when its time is up (though a few tracks suffer from a lack of direction, like the pretty but overlong “Moody Blues.”) When Kuli aims for grandeur, though, he often succeeds with flying colors. “Memories” plays delicate piano against stirring strings before building to a stunning climax (follow-up “Crime City” also utilizes strings to its benefit), while grand finale “Shining Of The Blue Flame” builds a cathedral around its emotionally tumultuous piano melody. Both it and the nine tracks before it demonstrate the importance of showing instead of telling: the destination is absolutely beautiful, but as Kuli would say, it’s ultimately the journey which matters most.

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