Peter Broderick - It Starts Hear (Bella Union)

New record cements Broderick's growing reputation as an essential musician of his generation.

Released Mar 5th, 2012 via Bella Union / By Melanie McGovern
Peter Broderick - It Starts Hear (Bella Union) Peter Broderick's new record is something of a post-modernist referential ode to music least its title track 'It Starts Hear' is as Broderick (in unfortunately the album's weakest track) sings the http address where you can find the complete album, liner notes, artwork and all. Fortunately this is It Starts Hear's only low moment. The other numbers comprising the album - the 25 year old's second full length release and follow up to 2008's Home - are the result of three years of studio work, this time with the eye to channelling a fuller sound and one in which the production takes as much precedence as the compositions themselves.

Friend and producer Nils Frahm assisted with the aura of sound here with it taking a noticeably fleshier and more intricate process of sound engineering. Far fuller than Broderick's previous often starker and more haunting compositions; it this time necessarily employs "anything and everything [Broderick] could get [his] hands on and which seemed appropriate for the song." It's this melee of sound infact which brings the instrumentation closer to the that which appears on Efterklang's orchestral pop, and whom Broderick has accompanied on many tours.

Opening in the usual manner 'I am Piano' displays the multi instrumentalist doing what he does best, opening from plaintive chords that builds to encompass urgent and lively string arrangements before Broderick's troubadour vocal ushers in. 'Asleep' perhaps best displays this newly acquired depth of sonic field and as an eulogy to a friend it takes the form of an intimate though widescale project using a shared commemorative text, inviting people to submit personal recordings and takes on this. There is both a hazy and discombobulated feel to this recording, while at the same time it is the most creatively broad, incorporating minimal electronica, birdcalls and the mantra "where is your body?"

It's a buoyant new direction which takes personal stories, some of little initial insignificance to the listener which Broderick reimagines into a grandiose retelling: take 'Trespassing'; the tale of a driving trip which inadvertently left a bird "with its heart on the side", or 'Blue', a song written by his father years previous which Broderick junior has transformed for his modern audience. 'With the Notes on Fire' is a galloping instrumental with layered vocals that break down into a similarly wordy runaway refrain, while 'A Tribute to Our Letter Writing Days' explores traditional folk music in its Simon & Garfunkel reminiscences and subject of the perhaps all forgotten art of letterwriting. Here he marries this with his neo-classical charm as accordion, bowed strings, piano, electric guitar and female harmonies decorate the simplistic though nostalgic lyrics to create the most compelling listen on record.

For a man of such humble age his adeptness at songwriting and contemporary composition straddles both traditionalist perspectives and styles while being unafraid to challenge contemporary society's accessibility to music. Given the painstaking beauty and effort distilled in this recording we have to doubt Broderick's graciousness in offering this to all for essentially free, but then it is a generous gift and a humbled one and as the man said himself: If a download gets a person to his show then that's worth the wait. Spellbinding and masterful.