There is not much known about the London based composer Affan. His first album—entitled Origins—aims at bringing light on the man and his music. A self-taught pianist, Affan delivers six contemporary classical impromptus, and explores—with elegance and simplicity—the melodies, tempi and harmonies that spontaneously arise from his creative mind.
Origin I consists of a succession of episodical variations and moods—with an interplay of registers and rhythms, over a cycling accompaniment based on a simple chord progression—setting the mood of Origins. The bell-like melody of Origin III slowly fades to leave place for more melancholic ideas, and with a swinging accompaniment leaves room for Affan’s improvisational and mysterious musical suggestions. Of course, Origins pays tribute to the composer’s musical influences, and in the case of Origin V—and it’s delicate and fragile melody—I could certainly hear the warmth of Nils Frahm’s Screws. There are some nice surprises too, such as the misleading melody of Origin II, which seems to never go where the ear would expect it to go, or its contrasting section which adds some rest and serenity to the piece. Affan’s sense of melody, structure and musical syntax is very mature and developed. Pieces like Origins IV—perhaps the most uplifting piece of the album—or Origins VI, that echoes the former, demonstrate beautifully his compositional skills and talent.
Everything in Origins reflects on Affan’s desire for simplicity and intimacy with the listener. Whether it is through the unpolished sound of the piano and the incidental noises of the performer—Origins has been recorded at Affan’s home in London—or the spontaneous aspect of each piece. It is an homage to the modern (piano) composers that have shaped the music of the 21st Century, and an opportunity for Affan to gift us with a tasteful arrangement of pieces for piano.