Somewhat like the public letter-writers of the past, American artistic polymath Peter Broderick has adopted a similar role lately as a “public” musician, in addition to his creative work as a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer. “Ever since I started releasing records in 2007”, notes the musician, “people have contacted me periodically to ask if I’d be interested in making music to accompany their projects”. Released on 17 November 2017 last on the Erased Tapes record label, All Together Again is a collection of songs and instrumentals spanning a decade featuring private commissions for films, shorts, weddings and even a fashion show.

Peter-Broderick - All Together Again (2017)
Peter-Broderick – All Together Again (2017)

This record is very dear to me in that it’s a return to that original approach . . . playing all the different instruments myself, working with my limits on each one, and my own limits in recording and mixing.

Speaking several languages not only boosts your creativity and communication skills, it also provides a valuable insight into different worldviews and cultural perspectives. As a musician, being proficient in several instruments is equally mind-opening and helps understanding how each instrumental part fits into the broader scope of a complex score.

Peter Broderick sings and plays the piano, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar, drums and percussion, violin and electronics on all tracks. The official video for “If I Were a Runaway Model” for instance provides a great insight into the musician’s creative process when it comes to the multi-tracking and layering of the different instruments – 6 violin parts on this particular piece – into a cohesive orchestral whole.

“A Ride on the Bosphorus” is an “original site-specific audio composition” written for Irish artist Fiona Hallinan’s Heterodyne project. Composed for a ferry ride in Istanbul filmed in real time, the 17-minute long piece is reminiscent of the slow television programmes pioneered by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) since the late 2000s. Ranging from 7-hour long train journeys across Norway to five-day long coastal cruise trips and broadcast live “minute by minute”, the programmes have proved hugely popular. Going against the modern standards of live TV broadcasting which prefer fast editing and dramatic soundtracks to keep audiences entertained at all times, the programmes have favoured a linear storytelling style, providing a quasi-real life experience of a simple journey from A to B.

Inseparable from the single-shot ferry ride footage, “A Ride on the Bosphorus” musically documents with infinite precision the speed of the ferry (which comes to a complete standstill when arrived at its destination), the never-ending ballet of small boats, birds and planes in the sky, the slightest change in cloud formation, luminosity and the changing landscape.

“Emily” and “Our Future in Wedlock” are folk-style songs written for private wedding anniversaries or ceremonies while the 16mn long “Unsung Heroes” is an electronic ambient piece originally written for an interactive installation. The accompanying spoken words were composed using a typographical technique Peter Broderick has used in the past – The four sections were written around the vertical phrase “All Together Again”.

Like the pieces of the jigsaw on the cover artwork – All Together Again is a metaphorical and physical collage of haunting compositions, individual instrumental tracks and lyrics documenting the never ending work in progress of a very talented and curious music lover.