[7 September 2009]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick’s album, Home, was the best album of 2008 that I didn’t hear until 2009. A cross between stark folk-ish songs and modern-classical/ambient instrumentals, it made a strong impression, cutting to somewhere deep while also soothing. That same gorgeous mood—peaceful yet substantial—is present in his purely instrumental music, like his debut album, Float. 4 Track Songs is mostly instrumental, too, but it has some of his song-ier numbers as well. A grab bag of 25 early recordings that preceded Float, it represents a varied, channel-changing dive into Broderick’s artistic sensibility. The songs have casual descriptive titles, like “A Simple String Duet”, “More of a Composition”, or “Piano & Rain”, and when collected, they give 4 Track Songs a more casual nature than any of Broderick’s other releases. Yet many of these pieces are stunning, displaying his gift for playing an instrument (be it piano, violin, or guitar) in a simple way that nonetheless can stir up powerful emotions and create vivid settings. It’s an “inessential” release that feels nothing but essential.