Jeff Bujak - Building: An Arsenal CD

Jeff Bujak is gradually and carefully creating his own musical world. It's clear from the first track of his new CD, Building: An Arsenal, that there are countless ideas just zinging around in this guy's head. Here I was thinking that his last opus - 2006's Peaces of Man and Machine - was about as ambitious a solo album as I'd heard. He's bested himself with this new album, a result of the apparent war going on between his inner human and machine.

While he's heavily influenced by electronic gadgetry, the meticulous musical engineering hasn't washed away his profoundly human side, as his beat-heavy, shape-shifting creations are dotted with spacious vocals and heartfelt piano contributions. He also adds his personal touch in manipulating sounds - wringing emotional cries out of his Rhodes electric piano to create what sounds like a guitar solo on "Crowd," for instance. "Crowd" is a stellar example of Bujak's sublime construction methods, including jazzy vocal passages washed in soaring synths scrunched next to minimalist hi-hat and drum beats.

One things is for certain - this album sounds exactly like the songwriter intended. A drum machine would never let him down or have trouble with the perplexing rhythms; such fallacies are human in nature. While it's a mechanical onslaught, Bujak's in tune with the machines in the way that a virtuoso guitarist or classical pianist is in tune with their instrument - the medium ceases to be seperate and becomes an extension of the person. It's hard to imagine him wrestling with the computers and keyboards as much as convening with them.

For 76 minutes this album seamlessly moves from one song to the next interlude to the next song, and it has a svengali-like effect on the listener. The last 3 tracks blend so flawlessly as to be one 27-minute epic. Time's passing quicker than you thought. Must pay attention. Seems to me that Jeff Bujak's Arsenal is complete.

--Bryan Rodgers