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Elijah Bossenbroek
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Elijah Bossenbroek
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I was born and raised in Grand Rapids MI. At age eighteen I went off and joined the Marine Corps for five years. While in the Marine Corps I lived in Mississippi for nine months, Japan for a year, California for three years, and Kuwait for three months. When I got back from Kuwait I met my beautiful wife Kate and her son Kilian and are living happily ever after. I started playing the piano at age six and was never a very good piano student. I hated reading notes and playing to a metronome so I was always just an average sort of piano player. At about age fourteen I started making up my own music. It all started with a simple version of song number 7 Humble Beginnings; and every year it kept getting more and more complex. Finally it was time to put my CD out. If you like it please I beg of you pass the word onto others.
Have you performed in front of an audience?
Yes I play live as much as my busy life will permit me to.
Your musical influences
Yanni, Jim Brickman, George Winston
Anything else?
Elijah Bossenbroek's Harmony in Disarray In every sense of the word, Elijah Bossenbroek is truly a hometown hero. Born in raised in nearby Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bossenbroek now resides in my own hometown of Hudsonville. He's the first of (hopefully many) musicians I intend to cover for my column that hail from the same area as I do, so he's definently a trailblazer in that regards. To be honest, I had some aversion when it came to listening to this album, Harmony in Disarray. It is, after all, nothing but instrumental piano compostitions. However, after spinning Harmony multiple times (mainly on my mini-field trip to Detroit this weekend, but that's another story), I find that my traditional avoidance of classically-themed music is both ignorant and downright stupid. Elijah Bossenbroek is a fantastic musical artist. Elijah plays an album full of elegant, graceful, and oddly melancholy piano arrangements. Maybe it's my mood, maybe it's the local weather (tons of snow and not many place to go) or maybe it's just the sheer, minmalist power of nothing but piano key structures for music, but the songs on offer here are very emotional and at times even visceral. Tracing out intricate arrangements with his nimble fingers, Elijah weaves aural tapestries of stunning, introverted wisdom. Highly mature and very thought-provoking, Harmony in Disarray features absolutely no words, but will inspire you to think much harder than CDs that do. Equally interesting is the man's backstory itself. At eighteen, Elijah went for a stint in the Marine Corps, which took him on a five year tour of military installations all over the world. Visiting places as diverse as Japan, Kuwait, and California, Elijah returned home, married, and raised two kids. He has since returned to his roots, reclaiming his lost, childhood knowledge of piano playing. Bossenbroek started lessons at six, but says he often hated the dull repetition behind learning notes and playing to metronomes. Frustrated, Elijah began writing his own piano compositions at age fourteen. I point the above out for two reasons; first, Elijah's stay in the Marine Corps gives good reason for why some of the songs are so world-weary. Second, a song or two on this album have been toiled on since the age of fourteen, and are amongst Elijah's very first written songs. It is this long-term dedication to songcraft that raises Harmony in Disarray so far above the normal piano composition. The music itself is fantastic. Eleven somber songs are on display; despite all feature the same instrument, and nothing else, almost all of the songs manage to forge a unique identity. "On The Wings" does, for example, sound like the fluttering feathers of a flock of piano-keys. Quiet and morose, the song offers up a soft, delicate fragility that few piano songs convey nowadays. "The Calm Before" is a rainy day ode to simplicity and grace. Title track "Harmony in Disarray" earns its name perfectly; on the one hand, the song is exceedingly complex, but it's rising crescendos and falling troughs of melody maintain the ironic paradox that is "Harmony in Disarray." The gentle, whispering "Spinning Nowhere" is another strong point; it elegantly drapes the listener in a moody, swaying breeze of melody. "A Song of Simplicity" is a fist-pumping piece of grandoise keywork, whereas follow-up "Promises" is slowly-building crests of ringing bliss turned into glorious music. "Humble Beginnings" is one of Elijah's earliest songs, a composition he has tinkered with since the age of fourteen. It comes across as one of the strongest tracks; this music eclipses time, space, existence. It is powerful beyond words. "Ignorance" suffers from placement on the disc; though a good song, it's wintery melancholy seems a little out-of-place sandwhiched between two of my favorite songs on the disc, i.e. the aforementioned "Humble Beginnings" and number nine, "Please." While we're on the subject, "Please" is perfect. In fact, I think this is my favorite song on the disc. Songs like this is what has made classical piano compositions one of the most enduring forms of musical expression known to all of mankind. "Everything's Just Fine" is a little more upbeat, but it still manages the right amounts of complexity, elegance, lustre, and wisdom in all the right places. Closing song "Leaps and Bounds" showcases some innovation to the piano formula; some mild ambient effects have been placed on this track, making it even more lush, fragile, and shining. A great close to a marvelous piece of purist music. Sometimes words are not enough. I am left speechless by the sheer awe that this music has within it. With each passing day, I find that this CD blows me away all over again. Give it a chance, and I'd say it's very probable it will do the exact same thing to you. Elijah Bossenbroek's Harmony in Disarray 1. On the Wings 2. The Calm Before 3. Harmony in Disarray 4. Spinning Nowhere 5. A Song of Simplicity 6. Promises 7. Humble Beginnings 8. Ignorance 9. Please 10. Everything's Just Fine 11. Leaps and Bounds final rating: 4 out of 5 stars for pretty much anything you could want (tour dates, song samples, pictures, news, etc.) visit www.elijahbossenbroek.com Elijah also has a myspace page at www.myspace.com/elijahbossenbroek
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