New York pianist, composer, and performer Luis Mojica has dawned his second album, How A Stranger is Made, unto the seemingly unaware world, accompanied by a little more incomprehension and identity confusion than intended.
With instrumentals fit for a Tim Burton movie, and some serious skill as a pianist and instrumentalist, you’d expect the artist in question to put some pressure on the quality of all aspects in this piece of recording. However, lyrics that almost never feel truly emotional, and vocals that feel quite forced and awkward permeate this record; which leaves me wondering how this makes sense in anyone’s mind. We’re talking about beautifully written piano scores, skillfully arranged instrumentals including celesta, harpsichord, saxophone, organ, and even the Wurlitzer. We can even greatly appreciate how organic it feels to hear a recording of acoustic instruments, mainly the piano. The sound of fingers hitting keys and hammers hitting strings, is purely a joyful thing, so it pains me to admit that this wonderfully delicate niche of naturalistic sound that Mojica has poked his head into is overpowered by a façade that is almost completely unnecessary. A façade of trying to come off as avant-garde, as a wilderness man who cannot bare much else than the true raw force reality, and trying to convey this energy that just does not seem genuine because it is not.
As a standalone album, completely taking into consideration all aspects, this is not a hit, but brushing this record off completely leaves us missing something with a great deal of potential. Mojica is a talented composer and instrumental performer, that should not be dimmed by a cloak that does not fit his inner self and talents. This is a lesson truly felt by those who do not falter in the face of trying something out, and falling flat. After all, the most sought after drug in the musical world (after total perfection and ultimate excellence of course,) is trueness to oneself.
Written by Talia Plante
*edited by Danielle Kenedy