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Album Review: Childhood
Joffry Arthur
Cover image of the album Childhood by Joffry Arthur
Joffry Arthur
2006 / Amsterdam
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Childhood is a charming solo piano release from Dutch composer/pianist Joffry Arthur. Calling his music “ambient piano,” Arthur has succeeded in creating an album of soothing but also inspiring piano music. Ambient often implies a lack of melody or musical structure, which is not the case here. The music easily floats through the air, but it also holds up very well to concentrated listening. Gentle yet passionate, this music is very personal and deeply felt. The seven tracks are five to eleven minutes long, giving them time to wander and explore, developing themes, and setting a mood of calm intensity.

Childhood opens with the title track, a playful, carefree piece that spills over with innocence and wonder. It’s a remarkable piece that sets the tone for the album. “For Grandfather” is more improvised and evolves freely and effortlessly. A little bit melancholy, it is perhaps the music of remembering and missing a dear friend and relative. “And Again We Go On” picks up the pace a bit and gives the feeling of moving forward in kind of a swirling motion. The middle section becomes dreamier and more fluid, returning to variations of the original theme. It’s a beautiful piece! “The Journey of Sand” is my favorite track. At just under eleven minutes, it is quite a tour de force, and reminds me of some of Philip Aaberg’s work. Much of the piece is played at the low end of the piano, creating a strong rhythm and a dark sense of mystery. The pace is unhurried, but there is a feeling of purpose. I’m sure parts of this piece are improvised, but Arthur often returns to his original theme, keeping the piece cohesive. Fascinating and heartfelt! “Affection” is dreamy with an undercurrent of passion. “Just The Memory” is reflective and nostalgic, as the title implies. This is the kind of memory that takes you away, as if in a dream, and makes you smile, glad to have made the journey. “Influence” is the last track. Introspective and evocative, its gentle grace and easy rhythm bring forth peaceful thoughts, leaving the listener in a pleasant, dreamy mood.

Childhood is a delight from start to finish! It is available from solopiano.nl. Recommended!
January 5, 2007