My Soul Is A Strange Country (2020) – EP

Liner Notes

The piano is the first instrument I learnt as a kid, and I have always been inspired by piano writing, particularly the contemplative pianism of Bill Evans and the harmonic approach of composers such as Debussy and Ravel. But until now the piano has been an instrument I have played mainly for myself.

I wrote these six pieces initially as private responses to the emotional upheaval of the past few years. I intended to release them in April 2020 but in amongst the initial pandemic chaos, it didn’t feel right. But now as the pieces must somehow be put back together I hope this music can be helpful in the rebuilding. ⠀

Nothing lasts. Everything changes. If I’ve learnt anything as I’ve got older it’s this: the challenge is to work out what, in the midst of it all, you have any control over. This holds for composition as much as for the maelstrom of life in general. For while the prevailing idea of the composer is someone who is god to their creations, with untrammelled power and an infinity of choice, I see the process as something altogether more humble.

I didn’t bring this music forth from nothing. I put myself at the piano and I poured myself out. What came out at first was lumpy, misshapen and ugly. Silent screams and black laughs. And love. But I stayed there and I cajoled and whispered and worked and the form that emerged from the stone was not an adonis but a man like me.

You can only work with what you’ve got, then let it go.

This record is dedicated to Rhia, always.

J x