composer | pianist | music producer
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
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I composed and recorded this album during the winter of 2022/23. Every track was recorded on my trusty Hyundai/Wendl & Jung tropical hardwood overstrung upright piano, often with the celeste pedal engaged (often called the rehearsal pedal) – this has the effect of dampening the piano strings with a cushion of felt, thus cutting off the piercing high frequencies.
Much of the percussion was recorded by ‘striking’ the piano with timpani drum sticks, the tips of which are coated in cushioned fabric. I also sampled recordings of the pedal mechanisms and also plucked the strings with a guitar pick, layering these sounds over conventional performed recordings.
Synth pads and effects were generated from manipulated samples of my piano – chords triggered by a sequencer, single notes’ ADSR envelope tweaked and looped, lots of signal processing and effects – combined with analogue synthesizers and carefully curated orchestral samples. Real instruments were always given priority over sound libraries throughout the album production.
The album also features vocals on ‘Antidote’ by Cecilia C. from the EDM/Folk crossover band, ‘Tempestine’. The album was mastered by the ever capable danny B. at sixty degrees north
I mostly begin new compositions on the piano. Taking inspiration from luminaries of the neoclassical movement (Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, et al), I don’t always always adhere to conventional recording or performance practices.
But to back up a second, I think it best I first explain a little about my ethos, a philosophy for composition in the modern era;
In an effort to avoid the trap of joining legions of automaton sound-a-likes, I prefer to eschew sound libraries in favour of recording imperfect instruments and perfectly flawed performances ; the Event horizon of AI will most certainly inundate the airwaves with mechanically precise music – i.e. sonic expression without fault – but I believe a machine will struggle to replicate such emotionally nuanced human performance, as found throughout our colourful history of making music.
It may be that only through liberation from a pervasive fear of imprecision that we will inevitably distinguish our creative works from those of brilliant AI minds, and while there is indeed room for all forms of creative expression in our thriving world, I hope my music may yet find an appreciative audience.