Daniel Brandt’s latest album ‘Channels’ is released today, and music lovers are advised to listen. Recorded in both Berlin and London it highlights his keyboard skills, as well as love for tailored percussion and includes a taste of electronic. It’s a musical journey filled with many instruments and sounds, emotions and keys, and a nice refresher from the club fillers many of us are used to.
A perfect opener ‘Flamingo’ starts us on the right foot: a shuffling, swinging foot that is, one that plays with tempo, instrumentation as well as beat emphasis and emotion. While it begins with a flat sounding synth melody, repeating as if a chant, it quickly shifts form to match that of the stumbling piano line, a series of prickly triplets that swing, gaining momentum and ending very strongly for a final beat. A brief interlude makes way for a little chaos, a series of bars marked by stronger beats and percussion, until we settle back into the solace of the familiar keyboard melody.
‘Sailboats’ and ‘Cherry Dream’ are both as monstrous as they are magnificent. Brandt uses instrumentation and dynamics to utilize every volume and tone possible, perpetuating sound into every nook and cranny, so to speak.
A moody track through and through, ‘Daze’ explores beautiful tonalities as well as obscure chromaticism. It begins with a tepid tempo, pulsing perfect unisons ring from the keyboard while a solo drum beats. In a full crescendo of orchestration, with rising dynamics in all instruments, a full and sonorous piece is born. A ticking synth stab creaks while whistling horns breathe in and out, adding to the swirling score.
‘Ltd’ also begins with repeating notes, only this time echoed in many voices, adding texture to tone. Employing sounds in the higher registers gives this track a lighthearted feel, which contrasts nicely with the other full-bodied pieces, like the title track ‘Channels’. Deceptively subdued at the beginning, as if an echo of something great, it does not end like this. Growing like a wave, manifesting itself from nothing and turning itself into something, using momentum as its ally and ending in a perfect and dynamic crest, the track rises and falls, gaining height with each bar that unfolds.
Beginning at a brisk allegro tempo ‘Twentynine Palms’ opens. Staccato piano chords stab, varying in only one or two notes while the others are kept frequent across. Lush background sounds, thick keyboard pads and atmospheric samples all pad every corner of this sonic journey until the main brass melody begins. And once it begins, you can’t forget it because its big and bold, unapologetically brazen. Added percussion increases the sense of urgency, turning this track into a finale for the album, and leaving us in a hail of drum strokes.
Daniel Brandt’s album ‘Channels’ has a very bustling metropolitan vibe. It capitalizes on instrumental, electronic and environmental sounds, harnessing their beauty and full potential into a meticulously and perfectly patch worked work. As an album it has the weight of a timeless instrument, for the piano has been around for centuries and when it speaks, people listen, as well as new innovative electronic instrument, a perfect median of past and present for it has years of technological advances behind it and limitless opportunities for creativity in its frame. ‘Channels’ is a tantalizing 45-minute journey that everyone is advised to take.
Review by Tess Daniella