Bogdan Ota’s music sounds a lot like Yanni recordings on Day of Wrath. In fact, the music made by this pianist from a little town in North-Eastern Romania sounds quite dramatic, if not the actual soundtrack for some actual day of wrath.
Each of these 11 tracks is an instrumental. All are led by Ota’s piano, although quite a few also feature full orchestration and vocals. The best comparison would be that that of movie soundtrack music. Listening to these recordings, it’s easy to slip into a mode where one is imagining cinema battle scenes. Take “Story of My Life,” for example. It begins with what sounds like a classical piano piece, before evolving into something that conjures up, say, The Trojan War.
Ota’s story might make for the stuff of a movie as well one day. He got out of Dodge, so to speak, when he left Romania in 2010 due to a financial crisis going on there. He relocated to Norway, where his boss – without Ota knowing about it – entered the musician into a Norway’s Got Talent TV program. After appearing on that show, Sony Music Norway became enamored with the performer and signed him up to compose the soundtrack for Rino Hemstad Eliasen’s movie, Sirenen.
Some musicians make pop or rock music before ever trying their hand at creating soundtrack compositions. Ota, on the other hand, sounds destined to be a movie music creator. Every one of these recordings seems readymade for film.
In many cases, Ota has chosen the exactly perfect titles for his musical creations. “Solitude,” for instance, is exactly as you might expect it to be. This is not one with a lot of booming crescendos and loud percussive passages. Instead, it finds Ota playing his piano quietly with just a hint of extra accompaniment. Another aptly named piece is “Sahara,” which has a Middle Eastern vibe to it due to its string section and crossing the desert-like overall vibe.
A song like “Sahara” proves how Ota knows how to set a scene aurally. As one with success in the film soundtrack realm, presumably also with ambitions to do more of this sort of composing, Ota has recorded a really fine multi-part example of his abilities.
It’s interesting, though, how Ota is seeking out success as a solo artist. This type of recording artist is not the sexiest kind. People usually want to see artists that can sing songs. Or they want someone to play, well, a sexier solo instrument, such as a saxophone or a trumpet. Those that have mastered the piano usually either become classical musicians or jazz artists. However, Ota appears to be aiming straight for the pop audience. Furthermore, these types of musicians oftentimes dumb down their music in order to succeed in the new age field. Once again Ota doesn’t fit into new age because his music is clearly intelligent and thought-out. He’s not creating strictly classical music; yet he’s also not just throwing together instrumental pop. What he is doing, though, is walking a line somewhere in between. When a performer isn’t overtly in one particular musical category, it can spell commercial challenges, to say the least.
Nevertheless, we’re not really here to wager on whether or not Bogdan Ota will sell music to a buying public, but to evaluate the quality of his output. Based upon Day of Wrath, without question Ota is one talented and accomplished recording artist. If it finds a huge audience or a small, discriminating flock, anyone that gets the chance to hear it will more than likely appreciate it. Who knows? Maybe the next time you hear Ota’s music will be at the movies.
Review By: Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 3 ½ Stars (out of 5)