Peter Broderick - Music For Confluence (Erased Tapes)

Instrumental score for the documentary Confluence sees Broderick excel.

Released Nov 7th, 2011 via Erased Tapes / By Melanie McGovern
Peter Broderick - Music For Confluence (Erased Tapes) When not touring with delightful Danes Efterklang or collaborating with his Erased Tapes label mates Nils Frahm and Dustin O'Helloran, Peter Broderick has carved out a name for himself as a highly heralded contemporary composer...and all still at the tender age of 24 years.

Residing in Europe in recent years, the multi-instrumentalist who originally hails from Oregon relocated to Berlin in 2011, living above the piano store Die Klavier Etage in a central rental that the landlord specifically requested was to be let only to musicians. All quite perfect coincidences Broderick recalls: "...the place was made for me!"

It was in this location that he began the work on the score for the documentary Confluence, a harrowing mystery surrounding a number of 1980s murder and missing persons cases in and around the Idaho area. With Music for Confluence Broderick successfully captures the trepidation and tension of such a documentary, while also imbuing it with a heart and poignancy as it reflects upon the lives of those lost. In dealing with such a topic Broderick shows himself as an ever maturing musician, both in terms of his arrangements and the material which they draw upon.

An emotive collection of instrumentals; the thirteen compositions were recorded in those solitary winter months in Berlin, and with the piano so close at hand its haunting, chill notes comprise much of the score. Broderick reflects it was important that the pieces remained devoid of intrusion or suggestion, and so in his typically minimalist style he manages to say far more through lack of lyrics and sparse instrumentation: icy layered strings on 'The Last Christmas' coupled with stark piano, onto the more subtly distorted compositions which, through tasteful guitar reverberations and bent notes, capture the bleakness of topic at their core. Over the course of the score there remains a wispy haze of atmosphere; equally murky as the subject matter but never so overbearing that it overshadows or overdramatises.

As a stand alone listen Music For Confluence displays a master of his art; sonic landscapes are created through the audio texturings of looped string arrangements, melodic though still sparing guitar interludes and contemplative piano. Broderick's compositions are deftly arranged and as with much of his work it beats with a human pulse, and a delicate sense of mystery - all too true here. To listen without the knowledge of the documentary's topic is perhaps the best way to test Broderick's skill for painting these scenes, and so with the score alone standing as an effective and affecting, haunting piece of contemporary classical work there is no doubt its aim was attained. Indeed titlings such as 'What Was Found' quite obviously nod to the story that Broderick depicts, however after repeated listens it would be hard not to notice the sepia tinted fragments of lives that are pieced together through solemn notes here: the spaces and pauses that are left for reflection and the moments of urgency and dread that hang over others such as on 'The Person of Interest'.

Closing with 'Old Time' felt like a "breath of fresh air after a story which can only leave you wondering..." Broderick stated, and in truth it is welcomed relief; a conclusion of sorts to both the musical half of the story at Confluence's heart, and that of its visual counterpart.