Today I’m introducing you to the track Fragments by British composer and piano player Christof R Davis. Christof was raised by music parents and didn’t seem to have a choice but to choose a musical career.
I’ve played piano since the age of 9 (also majoring in percussion, drums and some brass instruments) and wrote my first piece of music when I was 11.
The track Fragments is released as a single but is also part of a wider collection of tracks which will be released in the upcoming year. The first one can be read about here!
Tell us something about your track Fragments!
Unlike Momentary which was recorded as many different versions, before choosing the best take, Fragments was recorded in a single take and wasn’t ever intended to see the light of day as a release. I had recently updated ProTools and this track was a sketch which I used to make sure everything was working again. I discovered the recorded again a while later and reflected at how well it sat within my ‘Time’ study project and so decided to release it here!
Thank you very much Christof for sharing your music with us! Looking forward to more Time-tracks!
Today I’m introducing you to the track The rod less traveled by the American composer Renee’ Michele from Oregon.
The track The road less traveled is taken from the album The space within which was released in 2019.
Tell us something about your track The Road Less Traveled!
It is the composers story of reflecting back on her life and all the steps she took to bring you to the current moment. Will Ackerman was inspired by this song and asked to be a part of it. It was recorded at at Imaginary Road studio in the hills of Vermont .
Thank you Renee’!
Today I’m introducing you to the latest track by American composer John Hayes. John started playing the piano when he was around 8 years old (he can’t remember exactly since it wasn’t by his own choice). Like many others who gets forced in to playing in their young years, he kind of lost interest.
During practice time, I would find myself trying to come up with my own tunes or trying to recreate a melody I had heard from a movie I had seen the night before. I eventually dropped out of formal lessons, but it was not until a few years later, after developing my playing on my own terms, that I started to really enjoy the piano.
The track Eight for a wish is taken from a compilation album put together by Carlos Hof and was released on January 24th of 2020.
Tell us something about your track Eight for a wish!
This song was recorded this past summer. It was one of the first songs that I wrote in my new studio space. I remember being so pleased with how my piano was sounding at the time but also frustrated because there seemed to be a massive gathering of crickets outside my window. Maybe they were protesting my playing, upset that their quiet nights were being disturbed by this new pianist that just moved here. Finally, I was able to record a take where they decided to take a break from their protests and have a listen.
Thank you for sharing your track with us John!
Today I’m introducing you to composer and piano player Macgray. Macgray had an early introduction to music staring by playing the flute. Later he went on to play the piano; both playing jazz and classical music.
The track Oblivion is taken from the album Journey to the Dawn witch was released early January of 2020.
Tell us something about your track Oblivion!
In the story which is “Journey to the Dawn”, “Oblivion” is a moment of passage, a transition. When you learn to forget the good, the bad and even yourself or more precisely an image of yourself. Something new arises which sometimes reveals something more than the vision of the past. The song is about this moment, when you forget the past and reveal to yourself who you are. I think that most of us would like to stay more in the present or to go back to it. Letting go of everything and just be there. Oblivion, for me, is the transition I need.
Thank you very much for sharing this with us!
Today I’m introducing you to German composer, producer and piano player Maves, or Maurice Lessing, from Dortmund. Maurice makes both EDM music and piano music professionally and uses the moniker Maves for the piano parts.
Playing the piano is so special for me because I can play my feelings very directly. Sometimes I play 5 hours without a break because I have so many ideas.
The track Cry was released as a single on the 31st of January 2020.
Tell us something about your track Cry!
I composed CRY in a time that was not very easy for me. I wanted to express my sad feelings in a very direct and simple way. That’s why Cry is not a difficult piece to play, it is rather difficult to express the feelings.
Thank you very much Maves!
A while back I posted about the tune Sonnet by André Luiz Machado and Manos Charalabopoulos. Now it’s time to get to know the second of the two composers a bit better!
What’s your name?
On paper, I am Emmanuel Charalabopoulos.
How did you come up with your artist name?
Manos is not really an artist name, but just a short version of Emmanuel. In Greece, almost all people called Emmanuel shorten their name to either Manólis or Manos. I went with Manólis until I was around twelve, but when I started high school, I decided I liked Manos better.
Where are you from? And where do you live?
I am from Athens, Greece, and live in Bristol, UK. During the last five years, I have also lived in Paris, London and Manchester, but my wife, Adriana, and I are hoping to set roots in Bristol for a while.
How long have you been playing the piano, and do you play other instruments as well?
My dad started teaching me when I was four, so that adds up to twenty-four years now. I have also studied harpsichord and can deal with most things that involve a keyboard and no more than three pedals (think melodica, not church organ), but at different times I have wished I could play the cello, trumpet, clarinet and various percussion instruments. I have compensated by becoming a composer.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
Since I was born there were at least two pianos in my house, so I imagine I probably started playing by accident and soon after I could stand up and reach the keyboard.
How long have you been making piano music?
As a pianist, I gave my first concert when I was around ten years old in one of my conservatoire’s student concerts, and my first professional recital when I was sixteen at the American College of Greece. As a composer, I started writing piano music at around eleven or twelve years old, lots of romantic preludes and little piano pieces usually copying whatever I was practising at the time. About a decade later, when I decided to study composition formally, I struggled more with writing for piano than any other instrument. I was a bound by the intuitive gestures and movements of my hands and it took about six years until I could write something that was truly a product of my creative will.
Tell us something about that moment you realized you could make songs yourself!
I don’t remember this as a fixed moment, as it developed very naturally, from my theory and harmony exercises. I had a wonderful harmony teacher, Konstantinos Telakis, who constantly challenged me and prompted me to personalise my harmony exercises, of which I made two each week. From there, composing my own music was just a stone’s throw away. I must have enjoyed the feeling of completing a piece though, because I remember that if I started a piece, I would always try to finish it before going to bed, almost an improvisation on paper!
What are your favorite artists in this “piano genre”?
In terms of interpreters, I grew up listening to the ‘great’ classical pianists, Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Rubinstein, who were a great inspiration at this phase. Later, I also developed a passion for Latin American music and began to listen to various Cuban pianists like Aldo Gavilan, Jorge Luis Prats, Chucho Valdes and, more recently, Alfredo Rodriguez. In terms of composers, I share André’s admiration for the piano works of Chopin and Debussy, as well as Villa-Lobos, Scarlatti, Bach, Rameau, Messiaen, Ligeti, etc. Don’t ask me to pick one though!
Is there one song which you play over and over again as soon as you sit down by a piano?
I always play Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’ to try out a piano, Debussy’s ‘Pagodes’ or ‘Collines d’Anacapri’.
What rules (in making music) needs to be broken?
The practice of making music is based on the expectations that come from the sound experiences of those who make and those who listen. There are principles that guide us to achieve different effects using these expectations. No rules need to be broken or followed in art, but sometimes it can be interesting to make rules to achieve a specific purpose.
How do you record your music?
I record my live performances using a Zoom H4N, but most of my recording sessions were made using a standard stereo pair (Neumann mics or AKG 414’s usually do a great job), whether recording in a concert hall, theatre or studio. My latest album, Espelho Duplo—Double Mirror featuring music by André Luiz Machado, was recorded in the theatre of the UFG Cultural Centre in Goiânia. Our sound engineer, Ney Couteiro, used a Neumann stereo pair in the piano, plus a third mic to pick up some ambient sound.
What’s your take on sampled instruments?
Samples have revolutionised media composition and music production; the results that are possible—if you are willing to put in the hours—can be astonishing. In my own work, I don’t use sample libraries extensively, as I don’t usually compose in a DAW (except when working with recorded sound). When transferring my music onto Sibelius, however, the playback is often helpful to judge the timing and larger-scale proportions in a piece.
Anything else you want to share?
Thank you, Johan and Sleepy Songs! If you are in the UK, join me and André in London, Manchester or Oxford to hear works from Espelho Duplo – Double Mirror and more (March 2020 Launch Tour details on Spotify).
The last question is asked by my 5 year old son:
Where do all your songs come from?
Different songs come from different places. Some have to be teased out note by note, while others creep up on me almost without realising. I sometimes catch myself whistling a tune over and over before realising that I made it, other times I can sit with a keyboard or piece of paper or computer screen for hours before an idea comes along. Ultimately, all music comes from life, so it is important to experience different situations and emotions, either first-hand or through observation, to make music.
Thank you for sharing all of this with us Manos!
Today I’m introducing you to the 53 year old French composer and piano player Pascal Langagne. Pascal makes compositions for films an commercials and started playing the piano about 48 years ago, and it has now been his full time job for the past 20 years.
The track Brume was released as a single in January of 2020. This version is however a reworked one of the original track taken from the album Au-delá des nuages which was releases back in 2018.
Tell us something about your track Brume!
I have a small dogs who wants to run in the country 2 times a day. One day when it was raining and foggy I’ve imagined the mood of this track. I’ve played piano at home and tried different things, different takes. And finally it’s a mix of 4 piano takes, I love to mix several keyboards or piano, to give that movement.
Thank you very much for sharing this with us Pascal!
Today I’m presenting you to Rick Gallagher Project. Rick is a composer based in the United States and has a history of being a jazz musician, composer and producer for the past 25 years.
My music is mostly on the mellow/relaxed/contemplative side and is at times jazz influenced and somewhat improvisational in nature.
The track Wait is released as a single but will also be featured on an upcoming album called Upright Sketches Vol 1.
Tell us something about your track Wait!
We all have moments of questioning, despair and heartache. Try to be patient, listen and wait and the beauty of life will be revealed once more.”
Thank you Rick for sharing this with us!
Today I’m introducing you to a track by the danish composer and ambient master (Henrik) Lauge and ThePianoPlayer (and composer) Enzo Orefice from Naples in Italy.
The track Aftermath is released as a single, and came out mid January of 2020.
Tell us something about your track Aftermath!
Enzo: The curiosity to explore new sounds and new moods on which to play my piano melodies. I composed this song as always on the piano.
Lauge: This track came about when exchanging ideas turned into a desire for collaboration. Aftermath captures the feel of a world standing completely still after a nuclear winter.
Thank you for sharing this with us!
This Friday I released a new song. Or, it’s actually not new. Usually when I write music, I record it at the same time. Then I mix it, master it, makes some kind of cover art and then start looking for a available date do release the song.
This one is very much different!
I wrote this between the takes of a recording session at the pre-school where my buddy Anders Wiking works. I had like five minutes here and there so the video of me playing it is as close to an improvisation I can get.
When I got home from the recording session I didn’t want to record the song the way I usually record. At home – with my nord electro and some kind of sample library. I wanted to try to record it with an acrostic piano.
Six months passed and I found myself celebrating Christmas in Arvika. My little sister had just bought a house, and the previous owner was some kind of piano professor at Ingesunds musical university. When the professor moved out he left an amazing upright piano just standing there, so that’s where I decided to record the song!
I recorded it on the 29th of December in Arvika – took it with me to Malmö and made some adjustments (mix and master) and then just uploaded it to be released on the 31st of January.
I hope you like the tune – because to me; it’s very special!