I thank those of you who have persistently sent messages asking about the new album and when it will be done. The answer to that question remains the same: it will be done when it’s done. That’s not much help I know, and I openly admit to indulging in this freedom that I have as an “independent” musician so that – in my mind anyway – the music can be right and not rushed for all the wrong reasons. So once again I thank you for your patience. I am about 80% finished with the writing and arrangements, with just a small handful of pieces left to write. You may be wondering how it is that I can know this, so let me tell you that there is a story within the music, a real beginning, middle and end kind of scenario, and all is in place and written bar the last few scenes. It’s been a weird backwards journey; I have literally been writing it from back to front, and with each song/piece I have known exactly where in the structure it will come which is a first for me. So, with this story very firmly fixed in my mind, I can tell you categorically that I will know when it is finished.
That’s that, but what I really want to tell you about is this new piece I have just put on my player. For a couple of weeks now I have been away from the actual notes and instruments while I plan the final stages of the album; however, the music is still pouring out of me and so I have begun to record a separate collection that seems to be evolving alongside the fuller work. I have had many long sleepless nights over the last few months in which I have come to realise that I am not content with simply writing songs. That’s not meant in any way as a derisive comment towards songwriters; however, as you know by now, my interest has always been in more expansive forms and so I have started down that road with this new work and it is actually happening, finally working in a way that I never thought possible for me. There are still plenty of songs in the full album, but dotted amongst them are an increasing number of instrumental pieces, many of which have been improvised. I am loving this new improvisatory style that has seemed to come out of nowhere – this is not something that I have ever been able to do with any real confidence in the past – and so, given that it is working well and giving me such joy, I have decided to make this the focus of the second collection. I have called it “Metamorphosis”, and my thinking at this point in time is that it will be a short collection of improvised solo piano pieces with not a hint of a vocal. “Perfect Peace”, the new piece on my player, is there to give you a flavour of what’s to come. I guess you could say that these improvisations are “mood” pieces – they reflect the mood that I am in when they are created. I’m not sure that improvised music could really be anything else (discuss?). So this one, as its title intimates, is something I played while feeling a kind of perfect peace that I only ever feel as a result of a very few things. I don’t mind telling you that, before I sat down to “create” this particular piece, I had been listening to a song that always gives me that sense of calm no matter what mood I am in. I am talking about “This Is The Last Time” by Brookville. Every time I hear it, I wish that I could create a piece of music that has that effect on the listener. It’s utterly magical and I continually wonder what it is about it that does that to me. It has a beautiful simplicity that is rare, and is executed with such incredible style and skill, particularly with regard to its underlying textures. Of course, you cannot deny the musicians who created the sounds in this song; it was here that I first made note of Eric Matthews, and in this you will hear one of his many awe-inspiring trumpet solos. I love this song with all my heart and soul. How dramatic! But true nonetheless.
Anyhow, I digress onto other musicians as ever. I hope you like the new me. “New” me? No. Another thought that has been permeating my waking hours recently is the one in which I realise that this is the “old” me. This is the me of my teens, just as I was waking up to myself, and just before I had all my musical sensibilities wiped out – albeit temporarily, thankfully – by that wretched academic education.