Growth by Leon den EngelsenRelease date: May 7, 2021
Label: Piano and Coffee Records
What would be the indicators that you are dealing with music that could go under the branding of having ‘a European feel?’ Some would go to the place of its origin first.
In this case, we are dealing with Leon den Engelsen, a Dutch pianist and composer who is based in Sweden. So, European, for sure. The other element would be whether the music is strictly composed. Well, in the case of Engelsen’s Growth, his latest EP, that might not be so easy to say, as the composer combines the composed elements with those improvised. This might be due to the fact that Engelsen did some jazz studies in New Orleans, something you can feel here in tracks like ‘Vinter’.
The next indicator is a strong leaning on classical music. Sure, it is there with Engelsen. But then he moves around stylistically here, but in some subtle ways, just to give the music an additional flavor element. Not that he is shying away from other music, as his previous EP Substance was more of an electronic/dance affair. He is actually keyboardist of choice for Sevdaliza, a more prominent avant-pop artist.
But on Growth it is Engelsen’s compositional and piano skills that are to the fore. Which he never leaves without some king of an additional embellishment, like on ‘Descendants’, where the World music sample snipped is additionally electronically modified, giving the composition an intriguing relief.
So, does Leo den Engelsen’s music have that ‘European feel’? Quite possibly, but then, Europe is changing and so is its music.