Somewhere Else by Alex KozobolisRelease date: April 5, 2019
Label: Phase Records
Solo piano albums, whatever the genre may be, usually run a wide spectrum of possibilities for really intricate and engaging to completely bland musical wallpaper. Most of them usually end somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, depending on how long the artist does or does not overstay his/her welcome. The exceptions of say, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau or Belgian composer Wim Mertens are, of course, rare than those ever-popular elevator art performers for whom it is better to stay named.
Alex Kozobolis doubles as a musician and multimedia artist, so recording a solo piano album, as Somewhere Else, his new one, is no strange thing to him. The piano is an instrument that is probably most used in multimedia shows, even with all the electronic gadgets available today.
Kozobolis envisaged this album as “a collage of memories, locations, and timbres; comprised of pieces tied together by a wider rumination on the place, distance, and perspective,” something that seems to be a golden standard for solo piano albums.
But with all the cliche traps that are set for him at the outset, Kozobolis comes through the experience of this album almost unscathed. The first reason for that lies in the fact that Kozobolis doesn’t rely squarely on one stylistic genre, trying and mostly succeeding to combine the modern classical tendencies with improvisational flair of jazz. To this, you so have to possess an exquisite technique, and Kozobolis is certainly not lacking in that department.
Also, if you want your music to function as some form of a collage, a scrapbook of memories and ideas, you have to keep your presentation relatively brief, which he does most of the time on tracks like ‘Nothing Actually Happened’ and ‘The Perimeter and The Horizon’, the track titles being almost longer than the compositions themselves.
On the other hand on tracks where he does extend beyond a three-minute mark, like ‘Barcelona’ and the closer ‘Eye to Eye’, Kozobolis makes sure that he has something substantial to say with his music, and again, scores full points. All in all, a worthy listen and an album that scores quite well on that solo piano scale.