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Album Review: Cinematheque
Jason Farnham
Cover image of the album Cinematheque by Jason Farnham
Jason Farnham
2023 / Jason Farnham
36 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I first heard Jason Farnham's music back in 2008 when he sent me his third album, Serene, for review, and then his fourth, Kimono, a year later. I really liked both albums, but I didn't hear from Jason again until a month or so ago when he contacted me to review his latest album, Cinematheque, his first full album in about twelve years. Over the past several years, Jason has released a series of singles, but he has also composed music for films and television, possibly most notably for the Dr. Oz show. Cinematheque is a solo piano album with twelve original tracks that were written "as a soundtrack for a French indie film that never existed." The music is varied in style and mood, but most of the tracks are on the quiet and thoughtful or dreamy side. Jason's two earlier albums that I reviewed were also impossible to fit neatly into one category or genre, and that's true for Cinematheque, too. Jason introduces himself on Facebook as a recording artist from Northern California who writes and produces indie rock and ambient piano, so there is bound to be a very interesting combination of styles in his music - and there is!

The album begins with "Color Spectrum," a piece with a short spoken-word intro and the sound of an old movie projector that runs behind the music throughout the piece. The music moves smoothly and easily, making it easy to see images of color wheels or prisms of light dancing on the surface of calm water - a very relaxing start! "From Twilight to Dawn" is also quiet and unhurried and has a slightly Asian flavor. "A Boulangerie" steps up the tempo a bit for a light but gently bittersweet waltz. One of my favorites is "Komorebi." Apparently, the title refers to the beauty of sunlight coming through the leaves of trees, and that seems to be the perfect description of the delicate warmth and tranquility of this lovely piece. I'm pretty sure that the piano strings are damped or felted in "United Colors," a lively and carefree dance for the fingers all over the piano keyboard - I really like this one, too! "Hiraeth" is a Welsh term for a feeling of longing or homesickness. The melody is very simple and sincere, expressing deep emotions that are easy to relate to. "The Garonne" has a melody strong enough to support lyrics, although they certainly aren't needed to tell the story! Graceful and gently bittersweet, it just kind of drifts off at the end. "Paris in Black and White" dances lightly on the piano keys, perhaps thinking back to simpler times, maybe with romance in the air. "Painted Desert" brings the album to a close with a lively piece in an array of tonal colors and rhythms.

It's great to get reacquainted with Jason Farnham and his music with Cinematheque! The album is available from Jason's website as well as Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites including Bandcamp and Spotify. Check it out!
September 8, 2023
More reviews of Jason Farnham albums
Cover image of the album Serene by Jason Farnham
Cover image of the album Kimono by Jason Farnham