By Björk Óskarsdóttir
Composer and multimedia artist Alex Kozobolis is the man behind some well-known piano tracks as well as album and press photos of many musicians. Those who follow him on social media, however, might do so for his serene, “still life”, landscape videos. His music is not far off from those videos - the undisturbed mood, the water-like rhythm, and the stillness are all there.
There is an art to recognizing the density of your genre and staying true to your own core of inspiration. Alex Kozobolis does just that on his latest album, Somewhere Else, an 11 track album which is his second release since his widely appreciated self-titled album in 2016. Describing it as a sort of common ground between the improvised and the structured, the tracks might have more in common with the structure of contemporary dance works than with standard composed, contemporary piano music. This is a naturally fresh approach on its own and is well carried out.
Offline is one of the album's strongest tracks: a near divine piece with an air of acceptance and serenity that forces the listener to slow down their thoughts and let go of anything getting in the way. The first track, the Poulenc-y Where London Sleeps lays the ground for the rest of the album with its energetic right-hand motives, a nice and divided track which might have been even stronger if one of the fast passages were more stable in rhythm. It does an amazing job, however, at telling a story by swiftly changing hues, which goes for the whole album.
Kozobolis tells a lot of stories, actually. While portraying a good authority over the instrument, he literally pulls out scenes and characters from it. Lastly, Nothing Actually Happened is a notable track - with the right hand entering with a heartbeat rhythm over some lingering reverb, this is the only melancholic track on the album. Kozobolis has publicly revealed his living with Tourette syndrome and the inspiration for this particular track was drawn from habitually getting lost in obsessive negative thoughts, and how repeating that title phrase to himself often proved helpful.
This is rich piano music. Kozobolis goes into a nice direction which suits him well, generally short of drama but full of range and some rare magic.