Today I’m presenting you to the latest track by Dan Cook, also known as A spot on the hill. Dan has played music since he was a kid and took his first first piano lessons for about a year at the age of 7, follower by switching to the violin through high school.
I’ve always loved the sound of the piano, but I’m not a trained pianist and had not played it much until about four years ago. Now, the piano is the foundation for most of what I write — it provides the structure around which I build the rest of a piece with strings, guitar and digital instrumentation. I’m still very limited in my piano skills, but for me it’s more about using the piano as a tool for composition than it is about technical proficiency.
The track Tea in the rain is taken from the album The Space Between which was released on the 18th of august, 2020.
Tell us something about your track Tea in the rain!
The name of the track is very straightforward; it refers to the sense of peace and contemplation that can come from something simple like a warm cup of tea on a rainy night. Even if everything else in your life is wrong, a moment like that can give you a brief sense of comfort, and maybe an opportunity to reflect.
The piano part is so simple that I wondered whether it would work, or whether I would need to come up with another section. What I think makes it work are the strings and the subtle entrances of other sounds and textures, and the way all that builds upon the piano part. Each of those entrances builds up layer by layer, and it feels — at least to me — like it’s almost swelling up in your chest. It feels cathartic. Then at the end, there are touches of dissonance in the string parts, and you get a feeling of release when that resolves. So, while the basic foundation is simple, hopefully there’s enough to hold a listener’s interest, too.
That subtlety is a little ironic, I think. Because of its mood and its subtlety, a song like “Tea in the Rain” is a good candidate for study or relaxation playlists on Spotify — music that people like to have on in the background while they do something else. I don’t have a problem with that — as musicians, we can’t control the context in which our music is heard — but at the same time, it’s the subtle, slowly unfolding variations that make a song like “Tea in the Rain” work. And if it’s on in the background, you can only absorb the basic mood of the song — not really all that’s going on musically.
Thank you very much for this Dan!