In Review: Folkloric-electronic crossover bliss in Abraham Brody’s new album, ‘Crossings’
American-Lithuanian singer, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Abraham Brody has just dropped his brand new album, ‘Crossings’, today, a 9-track triumph (plus one bonus track), produced by Francesco Fabris at Greenhouse Studios (Ben Frost, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Björk) in Iceland. Since already establishing himself in the classical and performing-arts worlds, Abraham has now shared what is arguably his most personal release to date. ‘Crossings’ takes the listener on a journey that is both at once deeply folkloric as well as contemporary and personal.
The album begins with what serves as a haunting intro, ‘Phantoms’, the sparse and eerie overture that sets the mood for the whole of ‘Crossings’ – mysterious, folkloric, soaked in synth and bittersweetness. The second track ‘Brambles’ begins with a host of retro synth sounds and quickly begins to showcase the versatility of Abraham’s sound. Folk-style vocals layer like a fugue, while electronic claps and synth undercut the traditional elements of the track, providing a push and pull that suspends the piece delicately between genres. In addition to this, Abraham’s lyrics are steeped with rich imagery, filled with allegorical descriptions of nature; when he sings “thicket of time“, the listener can picture this complex image in full.
The third track, ‘Red Sun’, provides a clear look into Abraham’s virtuosity as a composer and an instrumentalist; beginning with a rolling pizzicato melody, the track builds layer by layer with a variety of harmonising string parts until the contemporary cinematic symphonic piece has reached its apex and then slowly peels away again, ending with the same rolling pizzicato notes. Subsequently, ‘Anna A’ also begins with a pizzicato melody, however, this track is significantly different in mood. For the most part, ‘Anna A’ comes through like an old lullabye, a delicate and, dare I say, ‘spooky’ piece that uses pastoral images and Lithuanian vocal parts. When the listener least expects it, in true Abraham Brody style, an ominous bass-synth enters the mix, providing counterpoint to the lilting folk tune.
A distorted synth sound introduces us to ‘Nightingale’, in contrast to the way ‘Anna A’ delicately spins a folk yarn. ‘Nightingale’ builds and swells with a rhapsody of strings, leaving one feeling an almost tangible bittersweetness in Abraham’s delivery – hopeful, but trapped. Again, Abraham showcases his exceptional storytelling talent with ‘Zane’. Simple yet beautiful vocal layering paired with piano and violin melodies accompany the mysterious tale, feeding the listener imagery and story-snippets that make us want to beg for more.
‘Black Moon’ then takes us to the more experimental side of Abraham’s virtuosity. What immediately strikes me is the clever naming of the track, a mirroring of ‘Red Sun’, and then, the unusual editing of the piano sound in the track. Unusual as it is, it works flawlessly within the rest of the mix, adding to the lilting, minimal edge of ‘Black Moon’. Again, Abraham provides the listener with a new kind of lullabye, in the form of ‘Mother’. The lyrics of the refrain, “free yourself”, are so poignant and flow beautifully through the dramatic, slightly eerie track.
Track nine, ‘In The Dream’, is probably the most synth-heavy and electronic track on ‘Crossings’, but also one of the most vulnerable; the song brings up all the bittersweetness of insecurity for the listener, cradled by a plaintive, droning synth. Abraham has also included a bonus track on ‘Crossings’, a wonderfully dark and electronic version of the third track, ‘Red Sun’; a more experimental and ominous version of the expertly composed piece.
Listen to the new ‘Crossings’ LP, by Abraham Brody, here: