• Spotted!

    Spotted: Hideyuki Hashimoto – Breath

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track Breath by the Japanese composer and piano player Hideyuki Hashimoto living in Kagawa.

    The track Breath is taken from the album with the same name, which name out on October 16th, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Breath!
    This song was improvised based on one motif. Live recorded on December 2019 at Fluss (Tokyo, Japan), with only one stereo ribbon microphone and has a natural texture.

    For more information, please check out any of these following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Merrill Crissey – Consolation

    Today I’ presenting you to the brand new track Consolation by the composer, piano player and friend of mine Merrill Crissey. To learn everything about Merrill and his music, please check out the Behind the piano post about him here!

    The track Consolation was released as a single on October 16th, 2020.

    Tell us something about your track Consolation!
    Consolation is a word we use after someone has experienced a loss. We can console one another with comforting words. We can console others without words just by being present in a tough situation. This piece is meant to be a consolation with music.

    Like most of my music, this piece is melody driven. It was really fun to create. I can’t say that for every piece I write. It starts immediately with the theme and I added an unexpected harmony in the left hand to give it a bit of emotion. My favorite part of the piece is in the middle. We hear two melodies in the right hand which is a trick I stole from Brahms specifically, although this technique is employed by many composers. Overall the piece is meant to create an uplifting yet serious mood.

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us Merrill!

    For more information, please go to any of these pages:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Garry DW Judd

    So, it’s Thursday and time to get to know another contemporary composer. This week we’ll get to know more about the British composer Garry DW Judd which I have posted about before, here!

    Let’s get to it!

    What’s your real name?
    My real name is Garry DW Judd

    How did you come up with your artist name?
    My parents did it for me! Actually, I have written a lot of film and television music under the name Garry Judd and I wanted to present my classical music separately, so for that I use my middle initials DW.

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I am from London originally and I now live in the Hertfordshire countryside just north of the city.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I always think of myself as a composer rather than an instrumentalist, but I have been playing the piano, guitar, bass, clarinet and various others since I was eight.

    Tell us about how you started playing music.
    When I was fourteen, I had the option of doing music as a more serious subject at school and onward at university…That was when I set my sights on being a composer for a living. Before then I had been in a band, but that showed me that I wasn’t suited to being a performer.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    My first major piece was Three Knobblers for Piano when I was eighteen. The concert pianist Leslie Howard played them at the Wigmore Hall in London and on BBC Radio 3.

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
    My music teacher gave me a score of Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro and set the record playing in the music room. It was a beautiful sunny day, with butterflies and bees buzzing in and out of the French windows. That was the moment I knew that I wanted to be a composer!

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    As a composer, I tend to think of composers rather than artists. I love piano music by Grainger, Ravel, Debussy and Bartók. Of course my favourite pianist is Leslie Howard who is known as a specialist in the music of Liszt.

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s?
    I rarely play the piano, other than to experiment with my own music, so it’s more like noodling when I get a chance! I tend to compose away from the piano.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    I like to experiment with form. I think that there are enough sonatas and symphonies in the world already, so I’m constantly thinking of new ways to present the music. That’s why I came up with the idea of one hundred Electric Nocturnes…A book of ten variations, with each subsequent book being a set of direct variations on each piece. So it’s a block of ten by ten which can be navigated in different ways. That’s the sort of thing I like to do.

    How do you record your music?
    I compose anywhere, although I have a ‘composing shed’ in my garden. I record the music in my home studio, which is in another, bigger shed!

    Whats your take on sampled instruments?
    Of course, nothing beats the nuances of a live performance on a real instrument played by a real human, but I love to experiment with sampled instruments and other techniques (like granular synthesis) in my film work.

    Anything else you want to share?
    I’m occasionally asked to give advice to aspiring composers and I always say, know your music theory, be honest and don’t stop!

    And the question from my six year old son:
    Where do all your songs come from?

    Your son’s question which is a very interesting one.
    I really don’t know where the musical ideas come from, but I’m very pleased that they do! Sometimes it can be a series of notes or harmonies…Other times it’s a feeling or mood. The hard work is in presenting those ideas in a way which is honest to yourself and also something which no one else could (or would want to) do.

    Thank you very much Garry!

    For more information, you can check out these links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Aaron Wade – Tomorrow’s song

    Today Iä’m introducing you to the song Tomorrow’s song by the American composer and piano player Aaron Wade. Aaron is not only a musician but also a computer science and psychology student at Yale University.

    Tomorrow’s song was released as a single on the 30th of September, 2020, but will also be featured on an upcoming EP.

    Tell us something about your track Tomorrow’s song!
    “Tomorrow’s Song” is a minimalist piano piece that tells the story of a composer suffering from dementia—each day, he composes the exact same song, only to forget the entire experience the next day. The harmonic and melodic structure of the piece are meant to depict the duality of the man’s situation: on one hand, a sort of melancholy (i.e., being hopelessly trapped in a never-ending cycle); on the other, a beautiful and fulfilling journey (i.e., the process of creation) made infinite.

    Thank you for the music Aaron!

    For more information, please click on these following links:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Elisabeth Tsung – Sebastian’s Waltz

    Today I’m presenting you with the track Sebastian’s Walts by the composer and violinist Elisabeth Tsung from the United States. Elisabeth has played the violin for about 20 years and violin was the instrument of her choice at the university.

    I was struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome and severe muscle strain in college, and during my last year, I got into a car accident that severely hindered my playing. As time went on, the pain got worse and eventually, I thought I had to give up playing music completely. 

    After a few years of not playing anything at all, I found an old keyboard in my childhood home and started experimenting with piano. Somehow, playing the piano lessened the pain I had experienced with violin and I was able to build up a new routine. The last two years I played solely piano, and this year, with the help of an amazing physical therapist I was able to pick up the violin again. Then quarantine happened in the US, and I started experimenting with composing my own music. That’s where this project begins. 

    Tell us something about your track Sebastian’s Waltz!
    Sebastian’s Waltz was created after I experienced a miscarriage during the pandemic. I imagined my spirit baby just dancing somewhere in the universe, and that’s what this piece is about. The triplets give it its waltz quality, although the piece was written in 4/4. I recorded each part separately and then layered them together in the recording studio. 

    Thank you for this Elisabeth!

    For more information and updates, check out these following links:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Pierre Oberkampf – Valse lente

    Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by the French composer and piano player Pierre Oberkampf. Pierre has played the piano for the most part of his life and has later learned to play a lot of different instruments by himself.

    Tell us something about your track Valse Lente!
    I composed this waltz after a series of piano improvisations. I finally retained this theme.

    My main objective was to focus on the softness of the piano sound, and to find a maximum of emotion with a minimum of note. I wanted to create a rather intimate, slightly melancholic atmosphere.

    Thank you for this Pierre!

    For more information, check out these following links:
    Instagram / Website / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: On Piano – Chiar de Luna

    Today Im introducing you to the Italian composer and piano player Francesco (Frank) lengo and his project On Piano. Frank is based in New York City and started playing the piano at the age of 14, and also plays classical guitar, which is his main instrument. 

    The track Chiar de Luna was released as a single on the 18th of September, 2020. 

    Tell us something about your track Chiar de Luna!

    “Chiar di Luna” was composed in July of this year right after I sat outside in my garden during warm, breezy nights noticing  how the moon was so clear and beautiful. In fact, Chiar di Luna is a nocturnal song that has a mysterious vibe in the very beginning and then transforms into a passionate dedication to the moon. 

    “If music wasn’t a part of my life, I would have no life at all.”

    Thank you for this!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify

  • Behind the piano

    Behind the piano: Paul-Marie Barbier

    It’s Thursday, and time to introduce another great contemporary composer and piano player to you! A while back, I posted about a track by Paul-Marie Barbier (also a member of the band Caravan Palace), and today we’ll dig deeper intro the mind of Paul-Marie!

    Where are you from? And where do you live?
    I grew up in Vannes (Brittany), near the well known “Golf du Morbihan”. I now live in Paris.

    How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
    I started learning piano at the age of 5 (I’m presently 38). At 12, I began studying percussions and especially vibraphone. I also play guitar and various electronic instruments.

    Tell us about how you started playing music. 
    There was a piano at home… I had the chance to meet a very good teacher. I entered a music school (“conservatoire”) at 9 and studied harmony, composition, piano and percussions until the age of 20. Then, I came to Paris to learn  jazz theory and to focus on vibraphone.

    How long have you been making piano music?
    It’s my first solo piano album ! But not the last… I’ve already planned to release some more albums within the next months. I also compose movies soundtracks. 

    Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself !
    Well I composed my first piece when I was 7 !  I have always wanted to be free on playing my own compositions. But it needs time to be confident in yourself. I think I got ready at the birth of my first child, 8 years ago.

    What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
    I do love Chilly Gonzales’s work. His career is very inspiring. The main theme of “The Leftovers” composed by Max Richter has been like a shock to me. Simplicity, pure elegance and sadness… 

    Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano? Your own or someone else’s? 
    One of my own, I must say… It’s called “If Not”. Plus “A flat 7/8” a short piece I composed ten years ago.

    What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
    Tough question… I think there are no rules when you make music. (?)

    How do you record your music? Yourself? In a big studio? etc.
    I have my own little studio with all my instruments. I recorded my first solo album with a friend, Arnaud Vial, who helped me to focus on the moment. 

    What’s your take on sampled instruments?
    It’s evil ! So convenient but not reality… I mean, for a solo piano album. As a soundtrack composer it’s just awsome.

    Thank you very much for your participation!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Philip Danso – Dawn

    Today I’m introducing you to the Canadian composer and piano player Philip Danso, currently living in Toronto. Philip have played the piano for the most part of his life, but the track Dawn is his debut release. He has however composed his own music for the past for years. 

    The track Dawn was released as a single on the 15th of September, 2020. 

    Tell us something about your track Dawn!

    “Dawn” started off as just a repeating piano motif, but later evolved into something magical. I usually start writing a song with a theme in mind even before I touch the piano. After settling on the “dawn” as the track title, I wanted to paint the characteristics and textural elements of sunrise; thus the slow but steady buildup of the track. I went for a sparse yet rich texture while allowing the piano arpeggios to dance amidst the subtle but ever present strings and lush synths.

    Thank you for this Philip!

    For more information, please check out the following sites:
    Instagram / Spotify

  • Spotted!

    Spotted: Goldmund – For a Time

    Today I’m introducing you to the American born composer Goldmund, who is now based in Canada, and his the track For a Time. Goldmund have been releasing music under this moniker for about 15 years, but also makes music using the named Helios and Mint Julep. He started playing the piano in his 20s while studying percussion at the Berklee College of music. 

    The track For a Time was released as a single on the 10th of September, 2020 but will also be featured on the album The time it takes, which will be out in October, 2020. 

    Tell us something about your track For a Time!
    For a Time is open for interpretation; however, the title generally comes from defining a moment in time, and how some moments are remembered as abrupt vignettes with no discernible arc or beginning/middle/end, it’s not wrapped up, it sometimes just hangs there without being book-ended by a memory of what came before or after. I wanted to reflect that in the music, so it’s generally a short piece of music that has a minimal amount of development after the main theme is presented and the sound is treated in such a way that it could be something from long ago, like a lost tape cassette.

    Thank you for this Goldmund!

    For more information, please check out the following links:
    Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website / Spotify