‘Miniatures’ is an interesting concept. Taking some of his short-form compositions (the longest is 96 seconds), SJD (Sean James Donnelly) has created an intriguing album for those who he says have short attention spans.
‘Miniatures 1’ covers a whole range of sounds and dynamics, exploring the freedoms and limitations of the short durations, and fashioning short stories and situations that leave the listener interested for more. Mostly electronic pop songs with some EDM thrown in for good measure, songs like Lava Lamp and Belgian Movie are especially affecting, featuring short narratives, changing vocal styles, and in the case of Belgian Movie, a gorgeous baroque-pop soundscape.
The instrumental Gordon’s Theme puts a slight 60s spin on the sound, while Donnelly puts on a fantastic falsetto on Cartoon Villains.
SJD, who has been creating longer-form songs for many years, may have hit on a winning formula for the no-attention-span generation, but some of these songs scream out for expansion. There are melodic lines and sonic shapes that are fantastic and would be interesting with another 96 seconds added to them.
At 20 minutes long, ‘Miniatures 1’ is short and sweet, not an epic listen, but a satisfying one, and the rumoured ‘Miniatures 2’ may expand on the running time and soundscape.