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The Broken Saints Concert

The Broken Saints Concert

The Broken Saints Concert - cover

In 2004 I joined a team of creative people to transform the Broken Saints online series, for which I had already written and produced the body of the soundtrack, into a 4-dosc collector’s edition DVD set. At the end of the rather intense process, I thought it would be interesting to take some of the themes which had become important in the series, and put them into a different and more intimate musical setting: as a solo piano concert. Thus I have selected four themes – two from previously extant material, two composed specifically for the series – and used them as ‘springboards’ for the extended improvisations on this album. The resulting journeys, almost 78 minutes in total, took me quite far from the source material, but I hope I have not lost its essential spirit…

Click here to listen or find out more…

Stillness3

Stillness3

Stillness3 is: Organic, contemplative music created from the calm and energy of the moment, without haste or urgency… a flowing collage of sound, rhythm, colour and texture. This is music to bathe in, to relax and renew the body and spirit – music that speaks to the stillness within us.

Stillness3 is: A jazz trio playing original compositions that draw more from the Ambient and New Age genres: slow, simple, patient, sometimes haunting, mysterious, always relaxing, meditative… in a word, still. This is music by master craftsman, using sparse and poignant brush strokes to create a warm, beautiful and contemplative pallet.

Stillness3 is: Intuitive, meditative, inspired music which breathes and lives in real time. Acoustic instruments played with subtlety and depth; lush, rich soundscapes, drawn from the deep well of instrumental mastery.

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Broken Saints volume 2: A Suite Hereafter

Broken Saints volume 2: A Suite Hereafter

The music on A Suite Hereafter was originally conceived as the soundtrack for Opaque, a dance poetry solo by Lori Hamar, produced by Suddenly Dance Theatre, Victoria. It has been substantially re-worked to express my fascination with historical, spiritual and literary notions of resurrection. The titles are drawn from the Sufi, Kabbalah and Christian Gnostic traditions, and refer to various stages in the journey towards resurrection in this life - the idea being that true resurrection is simply our world, re-imagined...

(if for some reason this embedded player does not show up or work in your browser, you can click through to the dedicated page on Bandcamp.com)

A Suite Hereafter features piano, french horn, soprano vocal (Cathy Peddlesden) and drums (Joby Baker) prominently, with flute, Hammond organ, synthesizer, electric bass, Jaymar toy piano and Persian hand drum playing supportive roles. it was recorded and mixed at Bigger Boots Audio in Victoria, B.C., Canada. Stylistically, it ranges from minimalist, trance-inducing polyrhythmic patterns (think Michael Nymans or Philip Glass) to rather intense, twisted and distorted tone poetry, to spacious, resonant vistas that summon a strange, magical calm.

continuum two: berlin

continuum two: berlin

This is a very honest recording. It is part of a series of live, fully improvised solo piano concerts which I began several years ago. Until now, releasing these as recordings has always entailed a certain amount of editing – partly for length, partly to remove background noises or passages that seemed to detract from, rather than contribute to, the flow. In this case I have decided to release the whole concert – every note that was played, complete and unabridged, unvarnished, warts-and-all…

The concert took place in two sets, both presented here in their entirety. I had the image which forms the title of the first track in mind while preparing backstage, and the first encore ‘for athanasia’ contains a theme that was pre-composed; otherwise, I had no idea at all, beforehand, what I would play…

 

Broken Saints volume 1: Passage

Broken Saints volume 1: Passage

Passage is the record of a number of journeys, all very much interconnected, some still underway. The first journey was a physical one, and took me to India, Nepal and Thailand for six months when I was but a wee lad of 19. Within that journey was a photographic odyssey which generated a collection of around 1000 slides and prints, some of which are even worth looking at... A later journey took the shape of a remarkable collaboration with my cousin Brooke Burgess, creator of the Broken Saints series, for which Passage forms a central part of the soundtrack.

The other journeys are more nebulous; perhaps it's better to let the music tell that story...

(if for some reason this embedded player does not show up or work in your browser, you can click through to the dedicated page on Bandcamp.com)

 

To sum up Passage in a few words is very difficult; quite simply it was, and remains, one of the most elaborate things I have ever undertaken. The initial idea was to select 12 photographs that told the story of my journey, and compose a suite of music around them, each piece exploring the mood and texture of the image it was based on. The results touch on everything from jazz to ambient, classical to trip-hop, worldbeat to elecroacoustics to minimalism, from rigorously composed complexity to freeform trance-like improvisation. It is realized on piano, synthesizer, trumpet, flute, acoustic guitar, fretless bass, and a selection of odd ethnic hand percussion.

Somewhere along the line I realized I was doing something altogether larger: I was telling the story of the creative process as I then understood it (my current conceptions of it are not incompatible with this vision, just a little looser and larger), along with a vast array of connected ideas and impressions of how the world works. This took shape as a website: the 'Passage Webspace', a kind of in-depth 'listener's guide' to the album. [WARNING: while there's some interesting stuff to be found there, it's an ancient hand-coded website from the distant past, so please be patient and gentle!]

Musically, Passage is quite diverse. It touches on everything from jazz to ambient, classical to trip-hop, worldbeat to elecroacoustics to minimalism, from rigorously composed complexity to freeform trance-like improvisation. It is realized on piano, synthesizer, trumpet, flute, acoustic guitar, fretless bass, and a selection of odd ethnic hand percussion. All in all, it's a pretty advenurous piece of work, which is very much the spirit in which it was imagined, and which is also the best frame of mind in which to begin your explorations of the site...

continuum:one

continuum:one

continuum:one is an album of long-form solo piano improvisation (I sometimes use the term 'live composition' as it reflects the intent of this series somewhat more closely). It was recorded in concert, August 29, 1999 at the Philip T. Young Recital Hall at the University of Victoria, B.C., Canada. As much as possible without being neurotic about it, I tried to approach the piano with nothing pre-conceived at all in terms of what I was going to play.

The resulting recording is 73 minutes of continuous, largely unedited improvised 'flow' - I mostly just tried to get out of the way and let the music that wanted to, come out. It explores a number of themes which emerged of themselves in the first few minutes of play, finding and listening to where those themes might want to go, and how they might sound or feel in the various landscapes we found ourselves in along the way.