Genre/Influences: Neo-folk, cinematographic.
Format: Digital, CD.
Background/Info: The album “End Of I” marks the return of Art Of Empathy, a Belgian solo-project set up by Jef Janssen. This new work has been released ten years after the last- and self-released album “Post Decadence”. The debut work “Evening Sessions” was already released in 2007.
Content: Jef Janssen is clearly inspired by neo-folk music, but multiple passages from his work are also pretty cinematographic like. The songs have been composed by acoustic guitar, electronics and overwhelming drum sections. The vocals are rather spooky, sometimes half spoken. You get the impression to hear different singers on some songs, which also says something about the elaboration of the tracks. Art Of empathy also adds spoken samplings in different languages to the work. The songs have been progressively built up, creating a bewitching effect while other passages are creating a dreamy sensation.
+ + + : Art Of Empathy makes me think to the Belgian version of Arcana. There’s a fine taste for delicate arrangements at one side and heavy, orchestral percussion sections at the other side. It all together creates a sonic symbiosis between neo-folk and film music. “Cynicism Left For Dead” is the ultimate track in the genre; an outstanding instrumental cut that grows progressively till reaching its climax. I also have to mention songs like “Ninety-Six Percent”, Where Souls Shine Brightest” and “Their Playground” all characterized by an impressive progression in song writing and –structure and featuring beautiful synth parts.
– – – : Some of the evasive cuts aren’t exactly my favorite ones for missing an apotheosis, which is not true at “Cynicism Left For Dead”.
Conclusion: Art Of Empathy took me by surprise achieving a styled and brilliant work.
Best songs: “Cynicism Left For Dead”, “Ninety-Six Percent”, “Where Souls Shine Brightest”, “Their Playground”,