I am always glad when I run into genres, which are not that frequently covered on Flyctory.com. Indeed, instrumental music does have some sort of niche character. Preparing for the 11th November 2022 releases, I ran into Old Souls by Jonathan E. Blake (which is an artist name, by the way). I listened to it, I liked it, I share it – enjoy my review.
Jonathan E. Blake – About The Artist
Jonathan E. Blake is a Swiss artist. He was born in the 1970’s and first played instruments like harmonica and accordion, but later rather concentrated on the piano. Even though he typically worked in jazz, blues and classic music, he also felt inspired by artists like Jean-Michel Jarre and also did some electronic music. Since 2019, he is releasing albums with quet, rather relaxing instrumental ambient music.
Jonathan E. Blake – Old Souls – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 52 minutes.
1. Shades of life
The opener Shades of life starts rather slowly as an almost mousy piano track. However, the longer the song lasts, the more instruments are joining – and the more catching the listen is.
2. The awakening of spring
The second song really feels like an awakening. The range of piano notes is rather limited, the track is increasing atmosphere majorly by strings to the sound. Very atmospheric – however, the plot of the song strongly reminds of Shades of life.
3. Old Souls
The cello sounds and the sprinkles of flute in the title track give a stronger New Age touch than in the two songs before. Again, Jonathan E. Blake goes for a strongly increasing structure of the song for the first three minutes, before the song breaks down in a coda. You may see at as a signature element of his music – but that also means that you should digest his songs rather like classic music than like instrumental pop, which is suggested by the press kit.
4. My dear friend
The main theme of My dear friend develops rather quickly. After an opening phase, the piano is again supported by strings and the piano notes become more nervous, more energetic. My dear friend feels like a perfect soundtrack for a short movie or a key scene in a movie about friendship.
5. Above and beyond
Above and beyond is the first song of the album which is not starting with piano tunes. A high tunes guitar or cembalo (excuse me for not being able to clearly identify) is opening. The 5:21 minute song turns into a very harmonic composition of a few instruments, which peaks roughly in the middle and then fades out over the remaining runtime.
With almost seven minutes, Blake is taking quite a lot of time to develop his musical thoughts about the Autumn. However, the development of the theme takes very long – at about halftime, the piano is starting to create a more joyful sound, accompanied by strings and some brass.
7. Another life
Another life is my favorite song on the album and also the key reason why I opted to present this release. It nicely works with different instruments from the very beginning and thereby feels very versatile. A very pop-alike recording, in which the leading instrument is nicely altering. By the way, according to the press kit, Blake is doing all instrumental work on his own – very impressive.
8. Last of these days
The eighth song starts slowly, monotonous, melancholic. It feels like a farewell track. By that, the song strong touches me while listening. Better don’t play that one at a funeral, where people are mourning anyway. The additional kick in their soul might be too much for them. One of the most impressive works on the album to me.
9. The ravages of time
I enjoy listening to The ravages of time, but I struggle with the title. I don’t feel the ravage, the destruction in this song sufficiently. The song is definitely again very touching and emotional, though.
A song about Eternity should be the longest one on an album, shouldn’t it? At least Jonathan E. Blake agrees to my thought and closes Old Souls with this 7:40 minutes listen. I like the middle part of it, which comes with electronic sounds and strings – but overall, I feel it s a bit too lengthy for my matter of taste.
Jonathan E. Blake – Old Souls – Spotify
Here is Old Souls on Spotify:
Jonathan E. Blake – Old Souls – My View
Is this still pop, as the press kit states – or has that been my first ever classic music review? I would say neither nor, which is also the key point why I struggle with Old Souls: it is too simple to suit a classic music listener, but it is too heavy and long for a rather pop orientated person. The technical qualities of the music are great and many songs would make a great soundtrack for movie scenes – if they were finally that long. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the listen and this is why I wanted to share this piece of music with you (finally, it beat the new releases by Bruce Spingsteen and Larkin Poe). But I struggle with its identity.
Entertain & Relax