Music Review – Sergei Boal

The Man Without a Hat

Album: The Man Without a Hat

Artist: Sergei Boal

From the music producers Acustronica comes an album that will bring you on a journey deep within your imagination. Visionary Spanish musician Sergi Boal created The Man Without a Hat in his small studio, Nivol and Sound, in Barcelona, Spain. Released on May 3rd, 2014, this will be Sergi’s fifth album. For fans of artists like Radiohead and Beck, The Man Without a Hat is an album that you don’t want to miss.

Critically acclaimed internationally for his rhythmic and soulful guitar playing, Sergi’s desire was to create an album that would take the listener on a journey without actually having to go anywhere. By incorporating his influences of classical guitar and flamenco music with subtle electronic effects, Sergi sought to challenge the limits of his musical ability. The result was an album that outshines many other electronic and experimental music albums.

Despite that fact that most of the tracks are only a couple of minutes long and the album is less than twenty minutes total, The Man Without a Hat is an auditory masterpiece. Each song evolves as it plays and no song ends the way it began. When listening to Sergi’s music It’s easy to get wrapped up in the sound. The combination of instruments and electronic enhancements not only forces your imagination to take over, but it is hard not to feel a sense of overwhelming emotion at times.

Sergi even named the songs as though they are chapters in a story. The song “Happy Loop” is aptly named and it will leave you feeling uplifted and, well, happy. The only downside to the album is that it is best listened to in the order it comes in. Sergi’s intention with this album was to create a soundtrack to an imaginary film. However, the listener is the director and by shuffling the order of the songs a new imaginary film can be created.

Unlike other electronic music albums, The Man Without a Hat is not ambient music. The album not only deserves your full attention, it commands it. But since the album is only twenty minutes long, Sergi does provide the listener with the opportunity to take some time for themselves. This album is almost like a guided imagination vacation. Perhaps it can be useful when working on an assignment and you find yourself stuck on what to write next. Taking a couple of minutes to listen to this album will do wonders for the brain.

Perhaps Sergi was thinking that his audience will benefit greatly from such a break. The songs and titles do encourage your imagination to run wild. The song “Glacial” does make me imagine a wide-open, snow-covered landscape: each tiny bit of ice reflecting the sun, with the crunch of the snow under my feet. But don’t worry, you won’t get trapped in your imaginative world of auditory infused creation. The last song of the album, cleverly titled “You”, gently pulls you back to reality, and the uplifting guitar playing seems to be bidding you farewell and thanks you for stopping by.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.