Ben Hippen – Review

Ben HippenBen Hippen is doing something that most indie musicians are not. He’s making REAL music. Classically influenced dreamscape-ish music to be exact. Ok, most indie musicians are writing some legitimate tunes too, but Ben is doing something really cool and unique and I’m going to tell you about it.

Ben Hippen

In Ben’s bio, he’s described as a Composer, songwriter, and recording artist (who) makes contemporary classical music that has been described as cinematic and meaningful.”As a piano player and teacher myself, I have to say Ben’s compositions and playing are creative and very impressive. His most recent album release is Scenarios, which features Refugee’s Hymn, “a piece of music for our times.”

So, Ben has released 3 albums since 2016 and one of the tracks that stands out to me is “Dreamscape” on his Scenarios release. I used to listen to music similar to Ben’s to fall asleep to a few years back. Normally, this would sound like a negative response, but in the case of this one I’m hoping that relaxation is intended and that my previous statement is a compliment! Although there are obvious musical melodies in “Dreamscapes”, there is also more of a lush soundscape rather than pointed and abrupt musical moments, which are great for relaxation and meditation.

If you take some time to get into Ben’s music, even more, you’ll discover that his collection of releases is quite vast. It seems to me like he’s focused and ready to unleash more relaxing music to the world. Ben’s music overall is fairly simplistic in the instrumentation with piano focus, and he doesn’t overdo anything with super complicated rhythms or fancy playing…although I’m sure he could. What I like about his music more though, is the complexity in the harmony. If you’re looking for a generic I, IV, V progression you’re not going to find it on most or any of his music.

“Ojai” is a short sweet example of the simplistic nature of Ben’s music. This tune is only 1:44 but packs a major punch musically. It’s classically oriented in movement but some of the “clean up” chords resolve into more of a new age sound. I googled the word “Ojai” cuz I wasn’t really sure what it was and I found this:

“Ojai is a small city in Ventura County, California, northwest of Los Angeles. Set in a valley in the Topatopa Mountains, the city has a village-like center dotted with art galleries and New Age shops. Bordering the north, Los Padres National Forest is crisscrossed with meandering trails. Nearby Lake Casitas is another popular recreation area. Every year, the Ojai Music Festival features famed classical artists.” HOW COOL!

Ben goes jazz in “Acceptance.” I wouldn’t call it straight ahead jazz, but rather more impressionistic jazz. Again, one of my favorite aspects of Ben’s music all around is the nature of his harmonies and voicings. He’s really a great technician on the keys. He is also active as a performer, playing shows as simple as contemplative solo piano or as complex as sample-based orchestral ensembles with real-time synchronized music notation displayed as projected video. The tune “Acceptance” is a great addition to any playlist or background music. In fact, Ben has been featured on some Spotify playlists that focus on concentration and studying, etc. Another interesting fact about Ben is that his life and music have been profoundly shaped by work he has done at various times and places in Africa. He scored the first feature film ever produced in the Tigrinya language of Eritrea, and his album Virunga was inspired by experiences in the eastern Congo.

I’m seriously impressed with the musical depth and composition of Ben Hippen and I hope you are too. Please, get in touch on social media and let me know what YOU think about Ben Hippen! Also, make sure to get in touch with Ben and let him know you heard his music here first on Indie Music Plus! As always, thank you for reading our reviews and continuing to support indie music of all genres!

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